Bumped United passenger fires back at Rep. Jackson Lee’s racism charge, airline


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A United passenger whose first-class seat on a latest flight from Houston to D.C. was given to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is firing again on the Democratic congresswoman’s accusations of racism – whereas difficult the airline’s account of the incident.

Jean-Marie Simon, an legal professional and personal faculty instructor, grew to become the most recent face of airline passenger woes when she detailed on Fb and later to the information media how she misplaced her seat to the Texas lawmaker. 

However regardless of an announcement from United searching for to clarify the switch-out, she’s not giving up the battle. And the congresswoman’s response – primarily claiming Simon made a scene as a result of Jackson Lee, as an African-American lady, is an “straightforward goal” – didn’t calm the waters. 

Simon, in an interview with Fox Information, rejected the racism allegation.

“That would have been Donald Duck in my seat,” Simon, a Democrat, instructed Fox Information on Thursday. “I couldn’t see who had boarded the flight. I didn’t even know who she was.”

Jean-Marie Simon, left, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.


Simon initially accused United of bumping her from her first-class seat on a Dec. 18 flight with the intention to accommodate the Texas congresswoman. 

At first, Simon did not know who was in her seat as she argued on the gate. United finally gave her a $500 voucher and reseated her within the financial system plus part. In her unique Fb submit, Simon mentioned one other Texas congressman then knowledgeable her a fellow member of the delegation was in her seat, and “usually does this” to passengers. 

‘I couldn’t see who had boarded the flight. I didn’t even know who she was.’

– United passenger Jean-Marie Simon, responding to Rep. Jackson Lee’s racism declare

Simon proceeded to take a photograph of Jackson Lee, have a tense encounter with a flight attendant who allegedly threatened to take away her — and has been battling with the airline ever since she received dwelling. 

On one entrance, United claims Simon misplaced her seat as a result of she canceled her flight through the app (which she denies). And on one other, Jackson Lee piled on this week by reissuing her assertion chalking up Simon’s discontent to racial animus. 

“Since this was not any fault of mine, the way in which the person continued to behave seemed to be, upon reflection, as a result of I used to be an African American lady, seemingly a straightforward goal with the African American flight attendant who was very, very good,” she wrote. “This saddens me, particularly right now of 12 months given all the issues we’ve got to work on to assist individuals. However within the spirit of this season and out of the sincerity of my coronary heart, whether it is perceived that I had something to do with this, I’m sort sufficient to easily make an apology.” 

Simon is focusing her vitality totally on coping with United, not Jackson Lee, however instructed Fox Information, “The one method she is related is that she has a documented historical past of demanding first-class service.” 

Requested for remark, Jackson Lee spokesman Rucks Russell mentioned in an announcement: “The Congresswoman regrets any inconvenience that her journey might have triggered to any passenger, nonetheless the problem in query includes the passenger and United Airways.” 


The 63-year-old passenger says her beef principally is with United and the way they handled her. She additionally steered the airline is making an attempt to age-shame her.  

“I’m not some AARP grandmother who doesn’t know learn how to use a cellphone,” she mentioned. “I understand how to cancel a flight and I didn’t cancel this flight.”  

It is nonetheless not solely clear what occurred that day. 

Simon used 140,000 frequent flyer miles on Dec. three to buy her first-class ticket from Washington, D.C., to Guatemala and again. On her method dwelling, she had a layover at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

Simon mentioned the attendant scanned her ticket however her reservation had been faraway from the system. At that time, the member of Congress already was in top notch, and Simon finally received the financial system plus seat. 

United later attributed the incident to an app cancellation by Simon. 

The official assertion from the airline mentioned they “completely” examined their digital data and “discovered that upon receiving a notification that Flight 788 was delayed because of climate, the client canceled her flight from Houston to Washington, D.C. inside the United cell app.”

The assertion continued, “As a part of the traditional pre-boarding course of, gate brokers started clearing standby and improve clients, together with the primary buyer on the waitlist for an improve. We had been in a position to present this buyer a seat on the identical flight in financial system plus.” 

Simon rejects the reason. 

“Why would I ever cancel the second section?” Simon mentioned Thursday. “United furnished no proof that I canceled it. And why didn’t I reserve one other battle?”

Although United credited her 140,000 miles, what Simon actually needs is an apology from the corporate’s prime brass.  

She tweeted “low stage worker at a name middle” mentioned sorry over the cellphone however that he hadn’t even been briefed on the main points of her criticism.

She additionally took to Fb on Wednesday asking the place’s the proof she canceled her flight. 

Requested Thursday in regards to the discrepancies between United’s and Simon’s accounts, a United official instructed Fox Information that their data clearly present the flight leg was canceled through the app – and never by a gate agent or different third occasion.

The official mentioned their inner coding displays the flight was canceled roughly a half-hour earlier than the unique take-off time, after it was clear the flight could be delayed over an hour. The congresswoman was then tapped for the seat as a result of she was on the prime of the improve record because of her international companies standing, the official mentioned.

Although Simon adamantly denies she canceled her flight, the official mentioned it’s potential this might have been finished unintentionally.

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