On Saturday, a bride and groom, Michael Hohl and his fiancée, Amber Maxwell, from Park City, Utah, were on their way to their wedding. They were on a United Airlines flight from Salt Lake City to Costa Rica with a layover in Houston when they got kicked off the flight. The couple was aboard United Flight 1737. They said, at first, that they were escorted from the United Airlines flight by a federal marshal, though on Sunday, the airline issued a statement denying they had been kicked off by any law enforcement official.
Reuters reported that, according to a statement by United Airlines, Maxwell and Hohl kept on trying “to sit in upgraded seating which they did not purchase.” The statement continued, saying that United’s staff asked them to leave the airplane, which the bride and groom eventually did.
A spokeswoman for United Airlines said that Maxwell and Hohl were offered by the airline a discount on their “hotel rate for the night.” United Airlines also rebooked the couple on a flight that would leave on Sunday morning.
The couple said in an interview with KHOU that what United Airlines was saying was not entirely true. They said that they attempted to pay for an upgrade in their seating on the flight but United turned them down. The reason they gave for wanting an upgrade was that, when they were the final two people to board the flight, they saw that one of the other passengers was laying across their seats, asleep.
NBC affiliate WCCN reported that their original seats, the seats the man was sleeping across, were seats “24 B and C.” Hohl stated they did not want to wake up the sleeping man and, instead, moved “three rows up in seats 21 B and C.”
Hohl said that the staff told the couple they were being “disorderly,” and that they posed “a hazard to the rest of the flight.” The couple disagreed, and Hohl added that they will not be flying on United Airlines again after the incident.
Hohl said that they had tried to move up a few rows within their cabin. The United flight crew said they had to move back to the seats they had originally bought, even though the couple offered to pay the extra amount the seats cost. United Airlines referred to the seats they had tried to move to as “economy plus” ones.
Hohl said he did not think it would be “a big deal,” for them to move to other seats, as long as they paid the difference in price. He also noted that the cabin looked like it was “half-full.” However, the staff of United Airlines told them, according to Hohl, that changing their seats was not a possible option.
BuzzFeed News reported that Maxwell and Hohl were on the United Airlines flight with several of their friends. They were all headed to Costa Rica, where the couple will get married on Thursday.
A spokeswoman for United Airlines, Maggie Schmerin said in an interview with them that the couple had been told they could “pay the difference in fare,” but refused to do so. She said that the bride and groom would not cooperate with the staff and return to their original seats.
United Airlines has had public relations problems lately, including when Dr. David Dao, 69, was forcibly removed from a flight and when a scorpion reportedly fell from an overhead bin and stung a passenger on a different flight. Kicking off a bride and groom on their way to Costa Rica for their wedding is the latest in a series of PR problems the airline has been facing.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Facebook