Passenger Denies United Airlines Apologized for Giving Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Her Seat

United Airlines reportedly issued an apology and a $500 voucher to a passenger who claimed that the airline gave Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) her seat in first class, but the passenger denied receiving an apology.

A United spokesperson allegedly announced Monday that to remedy the situation, the airline offered Jean-Marie Simon, 63, an apology and a voucher for the inconvenience, but Simon claimed the airline did not issue a formal apology.

“United has not apologized to me,” Simon wrote in an email to the New York Post early Tuesday. “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 added in a Facebook post written Monday night that she did not receive a formal, “written” apology from the airline:

Simon accused the airline of giving her first class seat on a flight from Houston, Texas, to D.C. to Rep. Lee, a Democrat representing Houston in Congress.

The airline claimed that its internal systems show that Simon canceled her Houston to D.C. flight December 18 due to a weather delay.

The Washington, DC-based teacher, however, said that the airline issued the voucher on December 18, “when United canceled [her] ticket.”

“This was far from an apology,” she said. “The gate agent who issued it told me to either ‘Take it and get on the plane or find another flight somewhere else.’”

She claimed that the gate agent originally tried to give her a $300 voucher, but she turned it down.

United claimed that it automatically upgraded Lee but not because of her status as a congresswoman.

The congresswoman claimed that she did not ask for anything “out of the ordinary,” maintained that the incident was not her fault, and accused the passenger of harboring racism against African Americans.

“Since this was not any fault of mine, the way the individual continued to act appeared to be, upon reflection, because I was an African American woman, seemingly an easy target along with the African American flight attendant who was very, very nice,” Lee said in the statement, according to the Houston Chronicle.


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