According to Jean-Marie Simon, a Washington D.C. school teacher, she paid quite a bit for a first class seat on a holiday weekend United Airlines flight. However, when she boarded the flight, she noticed a famous politician sitting in her seat.
According to Simon, Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) was given the seat by United without informing Simon at all.
What’s more, according to Simon, this first-class seat stealing is something Lee does often.
Simon snuck a picture of Lee sitting in her stolen seat at the front of the plane.
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) in seat 1A the one I paid for dearly, and the one United gave to her without my consent or knowledge! Fellow congressman on same flight said she does it repeatedly. @united pic.twitter.com/Q2c6u6B0Yp
— Jean-Marie Simon (@JeanMarieSimon1) December 23, 2017
According to the Daily Mail, United denies Simon’s story, claiming that she had canceled her flight, allowing Lee to suddenly take her place:
‘After thoroughly examining our electronic records, we found that upon receiving a notification that Flight 788 was delayed due to weather, the customer appears to have canceled her flight from Houston to Washington, DC within the United mobile app,’ United said in a statement.
‘As part of the normal pre-boarding process, gate agents began clearing standby and upgrade customers, including the first customer on the waitlist for an upgrade.’
Simon, however, holds that United is lying about the cancelation. According to the Daily Mail, United threatened to remove the teacher from the plane for taking the photo of Lee in her seat.
As per Simon’s tweet, a passenger informed Simon that Lee has been witnessed doing this twice before. Other passengers weighed in as well:
Other people on the flight claim they have witnessed the congresswoman carry out similar behavior at least three times before.
‘I’ve seen Lee and IAH cutting in line and rudely taking advantage of her status before. United knows she will play the race card if she isn’t treated like royalty so they just give in. They don’t care about a hard working teacher vs a privileged idiot,’ one person tweeted.
Lee released a statement about the incident, saying that she asked for nothing “exceptional” or “out of the ordinary,” and as was warned by the former witness, Lee said all of this outraged was caused because she was a black woman.
“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.
Simon said a United representative contacted her later an apologized several times for the incident, to which Simon demanded a formal written apology.
“It’s just impossible to suspend disbelief and swallow that story that I canceled my flight,” she told the Daily Mail.