in her Facebook narration, Jean-Marie Simon alleges she was at Bush International in Houston on her way home from a trip to Guatemala last week, when she witnessed U.S. Rep Sheila Jackson Lee [D-Texas], get ushered onto the plane before everyone else lined up.
When it came time for her to board the Dec. 18 flight, Simon said the gate attendant told her that her ticket was not in the system.
“A second United agent confirmed that I had no seat, not just the first class seat I had purchased, but no seat, period. I didn’t even have a reservation anymore,” she wrote.
When she was asked if she’d canceled her reservation, she said she hadn’t, she just wanted to get home.
Jean-Marie Simon was ‘offered a $300 voucher or told that she could buy a seat on a flight with another airline, after united bumped her from her flight.
“I said I wanted my seat, that I had paid a lot of miles for that seat, and that it was United’s responsibility to undo the seat assignment and return it to me, the person who had paid for it,” she wrote.
The United attendant told her that united.com had changed her reservation about an hour earlier and that another passenger had been upgraded to her seat.
She said she was offered a $300 voucher or told that she could buy a seat on a flight with another airline.
“United lied to me, repeatedly. They put Jackson Lee on the plane and then tried to blame it… on everybody but the United employee who deliberately erased my seat, my ticket, and my name from the system in order to accommodate a member of Congress who repeatedly bullies his or her way into favored status,” Simon said.
Rep. “Jackson Lee gives us all a bad name; it’s shameful,” another Rep from Texas on the same flight allegedly said, but the Texas Democrat told local media “if I had anything to do with this, I am kind enough to simply say sorry”
After being the last person to get on the plane, Simon said another Texas congressman who sat next to her told her that Jackson Lee had swiped her seat and that she “regularly does this.”
“Jackson Lee gives us all a bad name; it’s shameful,” he reportedly told her.
She decided to walk to the front of the plane and snap a photo of the rep in seat 1A.
Five minutes later, she said a flight attendant came over to ask if she was “going to cause any problems,” and warned her that she’d be escorted off the plane if she did, she wrote.
In a statement, Jackson Lee said she overheard Simon speaking with an African American flight attendant and saw her snap the photo.
Jean-Maria Simon said she decided to walk to the front of the plane and snap a photo of the rep in seat 1A
The congresswoman said “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,” Jackson Lee said to the Houston Chronicle.
“This saddens me,” she continued. “Especially at this time of year given all of the things we have to work on to help people. But in the spirit of this season and out of the sincerity of my heart, if it is perceived that I had anything to do with this, I am kind enough to simply say sorry,” Rep Sheila Jackson Lee said.
Simon said contrary to the congresswoman’s statement which accused her of racism: “I had no idea who was in my seat when I complained at the gate that my seat had been given to someone else,” she said.
“There is no way you can see who is in a seat from inside the terminal.”
About five minutes after Simon took the photo on the plane, Simon said, another flight attendant sat next her and asked if she “was going to be a problem.”
Simon said she replied that she just wanted to go home.
Her flight departed Houston at 12:50 p.m. and she arrived home that night, still upset. After Simon wrote a letter to the airline’s CEO and posted it on Facebook and Twitter, a “resolution manager” called her Saturday morning and apologized at least a half-dozen times, she said.
Simon says she wants a formal, written apology from United: “It’s just impossible to suspend disbelief and swallow that story that I cancelled my flight,” Simon said.