United claims apology was given to passenger rudely booted for Sheila Jackson Lee, teacher begs to differ

In a tale of two sides, United Airlines said an apology had been issued to the woman who said her first class seat was given to Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

The woman, Jean-Marie Simon, says no such apology was made.

An airline spokesman said United not only apologized, but gave the unhappy traveler a $500 voucher, the New York Post reported.

Simon, a 63-year-old attorney and private school teacher, disputes the claim, telling The Post via email, “United has not apologized to me.”

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

But then, Simon also disputed the airline’s explanation that the Democratic lawmaker ending up with the preferred seat, 1A, after Simon cancelled her flight — Jackson Lee, who played the race card, was said to be the first passenger on standby for an upgrade.

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As for the voucher, Simon said that was given to her on Dec. 18, when the incident took place.

“This was far from an apology,” Simon insisted. “The gate agent who issued it told me to either ‘Take it and get on the plane or find another flight somewhere else.’”

Simon has been very vocal about her experience and said on Twitter that United first offered a $300 voucher, which she refused.

Simon tweeted Sunday: “I’ve seen people get twice that for voluntarily giving up seat on overbooked flights. When I asked for free meal/bev., gate agent said, ‘And I want a Mercedes Benz, but I’m not going to get it.’”

Even then, the educator Simon said she got the voucher by “insisting.”

“United threatened to remove me from plane for taking photo,” she tweeted. “United manager called me @ home: said United behavior at gate/on plane contra [sic] United training. Said taking photos is legal, andaid [sic] United will investigate to c who did this to me.”

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Tom Tillison

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