Did United Airlines really apologize, and did they do enough to compensate the first-class customer they bumped to the back of the plane? To add insult to injury, the treatment first class passenger Jean-Marie Simon claims she received by the United gate agent was completely disrespectful and inappropriate. And is it okay for a sitting US Congresswoman to insinuate that a passenger is a racist because she was angry for being treated horribly by the airlines after she was bumped from her seat?  Is it really racist to complain about an airline that gave up your first class seat to a US Congressman who is supposed to be a public servant?

Jean-Marie Simon was a passenger on a flight from Houston to Washington D.C. and has accused United Airlines of giving her first-class seat to U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. D-Houston. The flight attendant threatened to remove her from the plane for complaining and snapping a photo of the Houston congresswoman:

A mechanical problem with the plane delayed take-off and after about 50 minutes, she said, passengers were invited to consult with a gate agent about alternative flights.

Simon said she went to the front and snapped a photo of Jackson Lee and told a flight attendant that she knew why she’d been bumped.

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In her statement, Jackson Lee said she overheard Simon speaking with an African-American flight attendant and saw her snap the photo.


“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,” Jackson Lee said in the statement. “This saddens me, especially at this time of year given all of the things we have to work on to help people. 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.”

Simon said Jackson Lee’s statement accused her of racism, adding: “I had no idea who was in my seat when I complained at the gate that my seat had been given to someone else,” she said. “There is no way you can see who is in a seat from inside the terminal.”


About five minutes after Simon took the photo on the plane, Simon said, another flight attendant sat next her and asked if she “was going to be a problem.”

Simon said she replied that she just wanted to go home.


“It was just so completely humiliating,” said Jean-Marie Simon, a 63-year-old attorney and private school teacher who used 140,000 miles on Dec. 3 to purchase the first-class tickets to take her from Washington D.C. to Guatemala and back home.

When Simon asked for the same free meal/beverage privileges that she would have received in first class in addition to her lousy $500 voucher, she claims the gate agent mocked her, saying: “And I want a Mercedes Benz, but I’m not going to get it.”

When it came time to board the last leg of her flight home from George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Dec. 18, after a roughly hour-long weather delay, Simon said the gate attendant scanned her paper ticket and told her it was not in the system.

Did you cancel your flight?, the attendant asked.

“No,” she said she replied. “I just want to go home.”

Her seat, 1A, was taken, she was told. Simon was given a $500 voucher and reseated in row 11, Economy Plus.

Simon later learned that Jackson Lee was in her pre-purchased seat and has alleged that the congresswoman received preferential treatment, which United denies.

This law professor suggests that the House Ethics Committee should investigate if Texas Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee pressured the airlines to get her first class seat.

According to several major news sources who are using an AP source, United Airlines apologized for their “mistake”. Simon has called them all out, demanding that they correct their story: “United has NOT apologized to me.”

Simon is demanding that these sources correct their story to reflect that United Airlines did not apologize to her:

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