Congresswoman who ‘bumped’ passenger from flight plays the race card - Gothamist News/gothamist.com

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Congresswoman who ‘bumped’ passenger from flight plays the race card




Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who was accused by a United Airlines passenger of bumping her from a first-class seat, said in a Twitter screed on Tuesday that she believes the incident is all about race.
“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 Texas Democrat wrote in a post. “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,” Jackson Lee continued. “But as an African American, I know there are too many examples like this all over the nation.”
Jean-Marie Simon, 63, said she was tossed out of her first-class seat on a Houston-to-Washington, DC, flight Dec. 18 to make way for Jackson Lee.
The teacher from Washington, DC, said in a Facebook post two days later that 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 wasn’t in the system. Another United attendant told her that united.com had changed her reservation an hour earlier and upgraded another passenger to her seat.
Simon later learned the congresswoman ended up in her seat.
But Jackson Lee, in her tweets, said she did “nothing wrong.”
“I asked for nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary and received nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary. I proceeded to take my seat and work on legislative issues on my way to Washington,” she posted.
Jackson Lee said she heard that the woman had “canceled her own flight.”
“I noted that this individual came toward me and took a picture. I heard later that she might have said ‘I know who she is,’ ” she wrote.
She said she hopes the airline makes everything right with Simon.
A United spokesperson said that the airline apologized to Simon and offered her a $500 voucher for another flight.
But Simon said that’s not correct.
“United has not apologized to me,” Simon told The Post in an email Tuesday. “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.”
She said she did get the voucher, on Dec. 18 when the airline

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