A couple flying to Costa Rica for their wedding, scheduled for later this week, were removed from a United Airlines flight in Houston, allegedly for not following crew instructions.
Michael Hohl and his fiancee, Amber Maxwell, had planned on flying Saturday from Salt Lake City to Liberia, Guanacaste with a layover at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Hohl told TV news KHOU.
They were unable to leave Texas that day because flight crews told them to deplane before takeoff, he told the TV station.
United spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin said in a news statement that the passengers “repeatedly attempted to sit in upgraded seating they didn’t pay for” and did not follow instructions from crews to go back to their assigned seats. The two were then asked to leave the plane, she said.
However, Hohl said that he and Maxwell moved to “two of the plenty vacant seats available” because a sleeping passenger was sprawled across their assigned seats a few rows away.
He said after airline staff told them to go back to their assigned seats, they complied. However, law enforcement officers came in less than two minutes later and escorted them off the plane, he added.
“We did politely, quietly and without incident,” Hohl said. “We got to the gate and asked why, and they said because we were in the wrong seat and being disruptive.”
The couple was rebooked on another flight Sunday, still ahead of their wedding on Thursday.
The new incident on a United flight came just days after a passenger was violently dragged off an overbooked flight for refusing to give up his seat for an off-duty crew member.
David Dao, a 69-year-old doctor from Kentucky, reportedly suffered a concussion and a broken nose and lost two front teeth while he was pulled off a plane at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on April 9.
Images of Dao covered in blood while being dragged out, as well as United management’s response to the incident, prompted worldwide outrage.