Wicked airline forces young mother to hold 27 month old son throughout flight.
A Hawaii teacher says she was forced to hold her toddler son in her lap for a three-and-a-half hour flight because of a mix-up in United Airlines’ system.
“It was unsafe, uncomfortable and unfair,” Shirley Yamauchi told NBC News. “I couldn’t believe it was happening to me.”
Yamauchi said the seat she purchased for her 27-month old son was given to a standby passenger. Yamauchi said she purchased two tickets — almost $1,000 each — for a trip from Hawaii to Boston with a layover in Houston.
After waiting more than five hours last Thursday in Houston to board, Yamauchi said she and her son were exhausted. Once they were seated, a United flight attendant came to see if Yamauchi’s son, Taizo, who was in his seat, was on the plane.
The Kapolei Middle School teacher said a man who was a standby passenger approached her and said her son was in his seat. She said she notified a flight attendant about the confusion but, “She shrugged and said the flight is full.”
Yamauchi, 42, said she hastily had to place her son, who is 25 pounds and half her 5’2” frame, on her lap. She said the standby passenger was one of the last people to board the plane. The flight quickly departed after he sat down and no other flight attendants questioned her about her son, she said.
The teacher claims for the entire duration of the flight, no one addressed her having her son in her lap despite her struggling to put the seat belt over both of them. Taizo had to stand or crouch on the floor because Yamauchi said he became too heavy to hold. “He’s tall child for a toddler. He comes up to my belly button. It was a three and a half hours flight,” she said.
The ticketing guidelines on United’s website state, “Once infants turn two years old, they are required to have a purchased ticket and occupy a seat.”
Yamauchi said she did not try to alert another flight attendant due to recent problems on United aircrafts, such as the April incident where a doctor was forcibly removed from his seat.
“If I were traveling by myself without my child, I would have spoken up a little louder or more forcefully,” Yamauchi said.