United Airlines has gifted a $500 travel voucher to a woman who claims the airline gave her first-class seat to a U.S. Representative while downgrading her to the economy-class section.
The airline reportedly gave passenger Jean-Marie Simon’s seat to U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). The airline first claimed Simon cancelled her Dec. 18 booking, allowing them to give her seat to the Houston Congresswoman. But Simon, who is 63 years old, said that never happened.
The woman took a picture of Rep. Lee sitting in the window seat she claims was hers and uploaded it to Twitter in a Saturday post in which she recanted the incident. While the company gave Simon a voucher and said they’ve offered their apologies to atone for the mishap, she claims no formal apology was issued.
United has not apologized to me,” Simon said in a Tuesday morning email to The New York Post. “A low ranking employee responding to an online customer complaint apologized on the phone, in his individual capacity. He also said he would send my complaint up the chain at United. To date, I have not heard from United.”
She also said the original voucher off was only $300.
“I’ve seen people get twice that for voluntarily giving up seat on overbooked flights,” Simon tweeted Sunday. “When I asked for free meal/bev., gate agent said, ‘And I want a Mercedes Benz, but I’m not going to get it.’ ”
Lee, who recently made headlines for taking a knee to protest police brutality on the House floor, spoke out about the incident. She claimed she had nothing to do with the airline’s decision in a series of Twitter posts on Tuesday. In the tweets, she said Black people experience such customer service injustices on a regular basis. She also believes Simon reacted the way she did because the congresswoman is Black.
Simon’s story is surely fitting with 2017’s plethora of airline horror stories. While customers should never be subject to such pathetically repugnant service, it’s worth noting the nation has largely been falling short on reparation distribution this year.
A Washington Examiner article published Tuesday, revealed Ms. Lee has been demanding special treatment from airline services for years. But what are a few hours-long encounters with privilege compared to a lifetime’s worth? Come on, Jean. Take the money and go.