MIAMI (CBSMiami) – United Airlines is facing more backlash for overbooking a flight that cost a toddler his seat.
Last Thursday, Shirley Yamauchi was sitting on the plane with her 27-month old son Taizo when a flight attendant still came by to ask if her son was present. After saying yes, Yamauchi said a passenger showed up claiming that her son’s seat was actually his.
“I told him that I bought both of these tickets and he tells me that he got the ticket on standby and he proceeds to sit in the center,” said Yamauchi.
When she showed the flight attendant that she had proof that she had tickets for both seats, she said the woman just shrugged and said the flight was full. She then walked away.
Yamauchi said she was scared to press the flight attendant to allow her son to sit in his seat.
“I started remembering all those incidents with United on the news. The violence, teeth getting knocked out. I’m Asian. I’m scared and I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t want those things to happen to me.
So for the flight both Yamauchi and her son had to share her seat.
“I had to move my son onto my lap. He’s 25 pounds, he’s half my height,” said Yamauchi. “I was very uncomfortable, my hand, my arm, my left arm was smashed up against the wall. I lost feeling in my legs and left arm.
Five days after the flight the airline issued an apology. A spokesman says because gate agents inaccurately scanned Taizo’s boarding pass. Their system showed him as not checked in so his seat was released to another passenger.
“We deeply apologize to Ms. Yamauchi and her son for this experience. We are refunding her son’s ticket and providing a travel voucher. We are also working with our gate staff to prevent this from happening again,” the airline said in a statement.
Airlines require children over the age of two to have a purchased ticket and their own seat.
Yamauchi says the incident makes her nervous about flying United again.