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Couple travelling for their wedding kicked off United flight

Michael Hohl and Amber Maxwell, of Park City, Utah, are planning to get married in Costa Rica on Thursday. So Saturday afternoon the pair boarded a flight in Salt Lake City to fly to the Central American country. The flight had a stop at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

According to Hohl and Maxwell, the couple were the last to board the plane in Houston. When they arrived at their assigned seats, 24B and 24C, they noticed a passenger asleep and sprawled over their seats. As the plane was only about half full, they decided to move up three rows to 21B and 21C.

A flight attendant noticed the move and Hohl and Maxwell admitted not sitting in their assigned seats. She asked them to return to their assigned seats which they claim they did. A U.S. air marshal later approached Hohl and Maxwell and told them to leave the plane. They were told they were being disorderly and consequently constituted a hazard to the flight. The couple complied with the request without incident.

Hohl said, “We thought not a big deal, it’s not like we are trying to jump into a first-class seat. We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat.”

United Airlines has a different version of events. According to a statement issued by the airline yesterday, unlike Row 24, Row 21 is considered “economy-plus” and only available at an increased price. United said Hohl and Maxwell “repeatedly” tried to sit in upgraded seats they had not paid for and refused to follow instructions from the crew. The airline also said the couple were given the opportunity to pay for an upgrade but refused to do so.

United Airlines also denied a U.S. marshal or any other authorities were involved in telling the couple the needed to leave the aircraft.

United Airlines added, “We’re disappointed anytime a customer has an experience that doesn’t measure up to their expectations.”

If recent events are any indication, passengers are not expecting much from United Airlines. A video taken of a 69-year-old doctor being physically removed from a Chicago to Louisville flight on Apr. 9 went viral. The doctor and three others were asked to leave the plane because their seats were needed to get four crew members to Kentucky. Since the video caught the attention of the world, there have been calls for boycotts of United and the company’s stock tanked.

READ ALSO: Online fury as passenger dragged off United flight

The incident in Chicago has put the practises of all airlines, not just United, of overbooking, bumping and otherwise requiring passengers to leave a plane in the spotlight Incidents such as the one in Chicago and this one in Houston has become a public relations nightmare for United Airlines.

READ ALSO: Korean man sues American Airlines for discrimination in bumping

READ ALSO: Family vacation begins with Air Canada bumping 10-year-old boy

Hohl and Maxwell boarded another United Airline’s flight Sunday morning and made it to Costa Rico in plenty of time for their wedding. But Hohl said he would never book a flight on United Airlines again.

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