Oh, boy. Looks like United Airlines is determined to stay in the headlines this year. And unfortunately for them so far, all the headlines are pretty negative. From slut-shaming girls for wearing leggings on a flight, to assaulting a passenger who refused to give up a seat he paid for, they certainly aren’t doing much to garner the favor of the public. Their latest victims are a mother and toddler who were forced to sit together even though she paid for two seats. It’s something that shouldn’t happen to any parent, but considering their track record, it’s not all that surprising.
Here’s What Happened on United Airlines
Shirley Yamauchi, a 42-year-old teacher from Hawaii, purchased two tickets to Boston with a layover in Houston. Each seat cost Yamauchi nearly $1,000, but she bought them because she was traveling with her 27-month-old son, Taizo. As any mother knows, a toddler that’s over the age of 2 is no longer “light” the way an infant might be. 2 year olds likes to move around. They enjoy space. They can’t be held in a confined space for 3 hours at a time. And yet, this is what Yamauchi was forced to do.
According to NBC News, the Kapolei Middle School teacher had been waiting for her flight to Boston with her son for 3 hours. Both were exhausted (what mother wouldn’t be?), but when their flight was called, they had their tickets scanned, and boarded the plane. But soon after, a man came up to her and said that the young boy was in his seat. Yamauchi went to a flight attendant about it, but they simply shrugged it off and told the mother that the flight was full.
From there, Yamauchi was forced to pick up her toddler (who weighs 25 lbs) and place him on her lap. The mother couldn’t stand to hold him through the entire flight due to his weight, and the poor child was forced to frequently stand or crouch by her feet during the trip. Completely and totally unacceptable.
Cautious Thanks to Past Issues
The mother complained to more attendants at the end of the flight, who asked her why she didn’t speak up sooner.
“If I were traveling by myself without my child, I would have spoken up a little louder or more forcefully,” Yamauchi told NBC. She was still cautious after seeing what happened to Dr. Dao just a few months earlier on a separate United flight.
United Airlines’s Sub-Par Response
In a statement issued by United spokesman Jonathan Guerin, the airline claimed they inaccurately scanned Taizo’s boarding pass and, “accidentally released his seat to another customer.” They have apologized and refunded Taizo’s ticket and offered her a travel voucher. But at this point, why would she want to trust boarding another potentially problematic United flight? Why would any mom, for that matter?
United, you need to do better.
Sincerely, Every Traveling Mom in America.
(Image: iStock / vandervliet93; Instagram / @bradcailing)