A mother and her two-year-old son were forced to go through a three and half hour flight together in one seat meant for a single passenger on an airline referred to as the United Airlines.
This incident happened as a result of her toddler’s seat being given out to a standby passenger who got the ticket on standby.
Shirley Yamaguchi, the mother to this toddler is a Hawaiian teacher who bought both the tickets on a journey to go for a teacher’s conference in Boston.
Both Shirley and her toddler were made to share one seat after having paid $1,000 for each of the tickets because children over the age of two are required by the airline to have their own seats.
She had these tickets purchased three months ago in advance of the flight and it was instead given out to a passenger flying standby.
What frustrated Shirley was the fact that the standby passenger had paid $75 for his ticket compared to their $1,000 ticket each.
The Kapolei middle school teacher said that as they were seated on the plane in Houston awaiting take off, one of the flight attendants came to check and see if Taizo was present in his seat.
Even after his confirmation about Taizo’s presence, he still went ahead and told the standby passenger to occupy the toddler’s seat.
Shirley now decided to talk to the flight attendant about the unfaithful treatment that she and her son were getting but the flight attendant just shrugged her shoulders told her that the flight was full and moved on ahead without a proper explanation.
She went on ahead to carry her toddler on her laps yet her son weights over 25 pounds which made her uncomfortable with her hand and left arm smashed against the wall.
This made her lose feeling in both her legs and left arm considering the fact that her son is half her weight which is a lot of discomfort for someone traveling in a three and half hour flight.
Shirley said that she wanted to speak up about her endurance but she was scared and afraid of retaliation as She kept on remembering all those incidents with United Airlines on the news that involved violence and teeth getting knocked out She felt scared, uncomfortable when she kept on remembering incidents on United Airline, for example, the Kentucky man who was forcefully dragged off his flight in April.
Shirley didn’t want to go through such a horror moreover with an infant who is not just a stranger but her son.
“I’m scared, I’m worried and traveling with an infant. I didn’t want to get hurt. I didn’t want either of us to get hurt,” she said to KITV Island News. “I had him in all these contorted sleeping positions. In the end, very sadly, he was standing up between my knees,” she continued to say.
“The Federal Aviation Agency strongly advises against a child sitting on someone’s lap, saying to passengers that their arms aren’t capable of holding a child securely especially during unexpected turbulence and what happened to my son was unsafe, uncomfortable and unfair”, Shirley said.
With no help from staff aboard Flight 2047, Shirley Yamauchi decided at the end of the flight to seek for help.
She went ahead and spoke to agents at the gate, who later directed her to customer service which also then directed her to a hotline number which still didn’t offer the need she needed.
When she finally reached someone on the phone they told her she couldn’t be refunded right away or she would have to cancel the rest of her flight arrangements back home.
Having flights canceled and later adjusted comes with additional expenses on top of the $1,000 ticket that her son did not use which would mean a double expense on her part yet she was the victim.
“It is so annoying and disturbing as everyone who has helped me so far has contradicted each other with their suggestions that are not rhyming. This is the highest level of disorganization and it needs to stop.
United airline has made errors that make national headlines, yet, it continues to be in operation,” Shirley Yamauchi said.
Five days after the flight, the United airline is finally issuing an apology and its spokesman claims that the gate agents inaccurately scanned Taizo’s boarding pass as their system showed him as not checked in, that is why his seat was released to another passenger.
On a good note, the flight company apologized to Shirley and her son for the awful experience they went through and refunded her son’s ticket. They also gave her a travel voucher and promised to work with their gate staff to prevent any such incident fro happening in future.