Apparently the airline that can't figure out how to deal with an overbooked flight without calling the police to assault one of their passengers—and won't let little girls board its planes in leggings—is at it again. The ugly incident wasn't exactly violent or sexist this time, but in a way it seems even weirder.
On Saturday, Michael Hohl and Amber Maxwell boarded a United flight with friends and family in Houston after flying down from Salt Lake City. The group's final destination was Costa Rica, where Maxwell and Hohl plan to get married on Thursday. But the couple, who were last to get on the plane, discovered a man lying down asleep in their row of seats. Noticing that the cabin was far from full, they simply sat down a few rows ahead—but still in the coach section.
At that point, they said, a flight attendant demanded to know why they weren't in their correct seats, and wouldn't take "uh, there's a guy asleep there" for an answer. (Also, that's not even proper positioning for takeoff!) Eventually, and despite the fact that they woke up the mystery napper, an air marshal arrived and told the pair they would have to deboard. "We thought not a big deal, it’s not like we are trying to jump up into a first-class seat," Hohl told ABC affiliate News13. "We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat."
United, meanwhile, accused the bride and groom of disorderly conduct, a charge they both deny. "We’re disappointed anytime a customer has an experience that doesn’t measure up to their expectations," the company said in a statement. These passengers repeatedly attempted to sit in upgraded seating, which they did not purchase, and they would not follow crew instructions to return to their assigned seats. We’ve been in touch with them and have rebooked them on flights tomorrow." Ooooookay. Whatever you say, you psychotic airline.
Obviously, Maxwell and Hohl will be thinking twice before flying the unfriendly skies with United again. But Maxwell's stepfather Michael Gallagher probably had the best take on the drama: "Truthfully, we all worried that maybe something would happen in Costa Rica, and we were willing to deal with that," he said. "Never in our wildest dreams did we think United was going to screw it up in Houston, Texas." Hey, at least they're consistently on-brand these days.