Teacher Says She Was Bumped From First-Class Seat For Congresswoman: 'My Beef Isn't With Her'
Jean-Marie Simon says she was told to sit in economy after Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee took her seat.
The airline passenger who says she was bumped from her seat to make room for a congresswoman is giving her side of the story.
Teacher Jean-Marie Simon says she had booked a first class seat on a flight from Houston to Washington, D.C.
She showed Inside Edition her boarding pass which read “First Class, Seat 1A." But when she went to board the United flight, she said an agent told her: "You've been wiped from the system, I can't even find your reservation."
The seat was given to a local congresswoman, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and Simon ended up with a seat in economy.
“I went up to the front of the plane and took a picture of Miss Jackson Lee, and I turned to the flight attendant who had brought her on the plane and I said, ‘I know who's in my seat and I know why,’” she said.
Simon believed she was bumped to make room for the congresswoman.
Rep. Jackson Lee says she had nothing to do with Simon being bumped, and added: “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."
Simon says her issue is not with the congresswoman nor about race but she has an issue with the airline.
"My beef is not with Miss Jackson Lee, my issue is with United," Simon insists. "We need to know as United customers, as frequent fliers, that we are going to be treated with a modicum of respect and courtesy every time we get on a flight."
A United spokesperson said the airline did try to apologize but the teacher says that never happened.
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