Travel

Couple Headed To Their Wedding Says They Were Kicked Off A United Flight

They sat in unassigned seats and got the boot.
04/17/2017 01:36pm ET | Updated April 17, 2017

Here comes the bride … or not.

A Utah couple headed to Costa Rica for their wedding were kicked off a United Airlines flight on Saturday, reports KHOU-TV in Houston, Texas.

Michael Hohl and Amber Maxwell told KHOU they were boarding a United Airlines Flight 1737 from Houston to Liberia, Costa Rica, when they found a man lying across their assigned seats, taking a nap. Hohl said they didn’t want to wake the man, so they took seats three rows up. He and Maxwell didn’t think their seat swap would be a big deal, he said, because they were the last passengers to board the plane and there were several other empty seats and rows.

Unfortunately, the couple, who had booked economy seats, had selected new seats in an “economy plus” row, which the airline considers an upgrade.

Hohl said that shortly after they sat down, a flight attendant approached them and asked if they were in their ticketed seats. They explained they weren’t, and asked if they could get an upgrade. Instead, the flight attendant asked them to return to their assigned seats. The couple said they complied, but soon after, a U.S. Marshal asked them to leave the aircraft.

United Airlines told The Huffington Post in a statement that the couple “repeatedly attempted to sit in upgraded seating” and didn’t want to pay the difference.

“The passengers were ticketed in Economy and attempted to move up to Economy Plus,” the company said. “They were offered the opportunity to pay the difference in fare, they declined, and would not follow crew member instructions to return to their assigned seats.”

“The passengers were ticketed in Economy and attempted to move up to Economy Plus. They were offered the opportunity to pay the difference in fare, they declined, and would not follow crew member instructions to return to their assigned seats"”

- Statement from United Airlines

United noted that Hohl and Maxwell complied when they were asked to leave the plane, but said the request was made by a member of staff and not an air marshal.

The carrier also said it offered the couple a discounted hotel rate in Houston and rebooked them on a flight Monday morning.

Hohl said in a video that United was not that accommodating.

“[They] sugarcoated the whole thing, and didn’t really do anything for us,” he told ABC. “[They] gave us a post-it note on our ticket and said that we could come back tomorrow morning for another flight.”

The news follows a week of negative press for United, prompted by the airline’s decision to bodily remove a passenger from a full flight in order to seat employees. Dr. David Dao was violently dragged off the flight from Chicago to Louisville in front of horrified onlookers, reportedly suffering a broken nose and concussion.

The Huffington Post reached out to Hohl and Maxwell and may update this story accordingly.