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United Airlines apologises for giving away child's seat to standby passenger: Reports
Published in Alriyadh on 06 - 07 - 2017

United Airlines has issued an apology five days after a passenger was forced to sit with her two-year-old toddler on her lap for more than three hours after the airline gave her child's seat away to a standby customer, according to Hawaii News Now.
Shirley Yamauchi, 27, bought a ticket for her son Taizo for the flight from Houston to Boston on Jun 29, the final leg of an 18-hour journey from Hawaii. She paid nearly US$1,000 for the ticket, said the report on Thursday (Jul 6).
Yamauchi said that another passenger had walked up to Taizo's seat and claimed that it was his.
"I told him that I bought both of these tickets and he tells me that he got the ticket on standby. Then he proceeds to sit in the center," she said to Hawaii News Now.
Ms Yamauchi had approached a flight attendant about the issue but was told that the flight was full.
Shirley Yamauchi was told by United Airlines employees in Houston to give up her son seat to another passenger on a flight bound for Boston.
As a result, Ms Yamauchi was forced to sit with her toddler on her lap for the plane ride.
"He's 25 pounds. He's half my height. I was very uncomfortable. My hand, my left arm was smashed up against the wall. I lost feeling in my legs and left arm," she said.
She later learned that the man had paid just US$75 for his ticket.
Ms Yamauchi said that she had no good options at that point as the airlines had told her that refunding the flight would mean that all subsequent flight arrangements to Hawaii would be cancelled as well, said KITV, according to the Chicago Tribune.
She had also been afraid to speak up following the recent case of a doctor being dragged off a United flight.
"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," she said.
The airline issued an apology five days after the incident.
A spokesman for United said the misunderstanding occurred because gate agents had inaccurately scanned Taizo's boarding pass and so the airline's system showed him as not checked in. Consequently, the airlines released his seat to another passenger, reported Hawaii News Now.
The company said: "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 Telegraph added that according to FAA guidelines, the FAA strongly advises against a child sitting on someone's lap because "your arms aren't capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence".


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