Tags: sheila jackson lee | united airlines | seating controversy | twitter

Rep. Jackson Lee Claims Airline Outrage Against Her Is Racial

Rep. Jackson Lee Claims Airline Outrage Against Her Is Racial
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas (Alex Brandon/AP)

Tuesday, 26 December 2017 05:36 PM

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas — blasted by a United Airlines passenger for bumping her from her first class — declared her innocence on Twitter on Tuesday, and charged the accusation appeared racially motivated.

"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," the Democratic Texas lawmaker's post surmised.

"This saddens me, especially at this time of year given all of the things we have to work on to help people," the lawmaker's mutli-tweet defense read.

"But in the spirit of this season and out of the sincerity of my heart, if it is perceived that I had anything to do with this, I am kind enough to simply say sorry. But as an African American, I know there are too many examples like this all over the nation."

Washington, D.C., teacher Jean-Marie Simon, 63, said she was booted out of first class on a Houston-to-Washington, DC, flight Dec. 18 to make way for Jackson Lee.

In a Facebook post recounting the episode, Simon asserted she saw a uniformed United employee pull Jackson Lee from the priority boarding line and escort her to a first-class seat before any other passengers got on the plane.

When Simon went to board with her first-class ticket, an agent said it was not in the system — and another attendant told her United.com had changed her reservation an hour earlier and upgraded another passenger to her seat.

Jackson Lee declared she did "nothing wrong."

"I asked for nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary and received nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary," she posted, adding she had learned Simon had "canceled her own flight." "I proceeded to take my seat and work on legislative issues on my way to Washington."

A United spokesperson said the airline apologized and offered her a $500 voucher for another flight — but Simon said that is wrong, the New York Post reported.

"United has not apologized to me," Simon told the Post in an email.

"A low-ranking employee responding to an online customer complaint apologized on the phone, in his individual capacity. He also said he would send my complaint up the chain at United. To date, I have not heard from United."

According to the Post, Simon said she got the voucher when the airline canceled her ticket — but after she protested the gate agent’s offer of a $300 voucher.

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In a tweet Tuesday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, suggests a passenger's airline seating outrage against her is racially charged.
sheila jackson lee, united airlines, seating controversy, twitter
Tuesday, 26 December 2017 05:36 PM
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