The United Airlines horror stories just keep piling on. As if a passenger getting forcibly dragged out of an airplane and another enduring sexual harassment (while the flight attendant keeps serving the perpetrator stiff drinks) weren't enough, now United kicked a bride and groom off their flight to their own wedding. Now, the bride says strangers are harassing the couple on the internet and people are hacking into their wedding website to add bogus entries to the guest list.
KHOU, a CBS affiliate in Texas, reports that Michael Hohl and Amber Maxwell were traveling from Salt Lake City to Costa Rica, with a layover in Houston. When they found a man laying down, asleep, across their assigned seats, they decided to sit elsewhere because the plane wasn't full. Plus, they were the last people to board so they figured no one would take those seats anyway.
"We thought, not a big deal, it’s not like we are trying to jump up into a first-class seat," Hohl told KHOU. "We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat." But according to United, the couple had moved to Economy Plus seating, which is considered an upgrade. They eventually went back to their assigned seats at a flight attendant's request, but then a U.S. Marshal came on board and asked them to leave because they were "being disorderly and a hazard to the rest of the flight." They were rebooked on another flight for the next morning. Their wedding is scheduled for Thursday, according to KHOU.
Maxwell says the incident has been reported incorrectly, and shared her side of the story on Facebook today.
"I was embarrassed the day the incident happened and am more so now that my face is plastered everywhere," she wrote from her destination-wedding location in Costa Rica. "The story has been blown way out of proportion. We were not in upgraded seats; we were not repeatedly asked to move. We were asked once and moved... No harsh words were yelled on either side; we calmly and politely exited the plane when asked."
Maxwell said United staff mistreated the couple. "We were then belittled by United staff that laughed and snickered...as I was crying. And given the cold shoulder by United when we tried to obtain more information as to why and what would happen next."
She also said random people are harassing them online. "I would like to try and enjoy my wedding, as I only plan to have one, and would appreciate if the people who think it is funny to hack my personal pages and wedding website and mock me by adding guests and saying cruel things would leave us alone... And I have enough stress and anxiety over planning a wedding yet...all of this happening."
Commenters on her Facebook page supported Maxwell. Because, really, why are strangers harassing this couple? Let them get married in peace.
"More likely than not, anyone who has something negative to say is hiding the fact that they're [a] horrible person with no life whatsoever. I mean how fucking boring is your life that you sit on the internet all goddamn day and get outraged at something that has nothing to do with you/beyond your control," wrote one. Seriously.
Someone else wrote: "I'm so sorry, people are cruel and they think they can hide behind a computer and say whatever they want without ever even thinking that there is a person on the other side. I'm sorry this is taking away from your day and vacation! Ignore it all as much as you can. Love you guys."
We did our job and reached out to the couple, but we understand if they don't respond because their friggin' wedding is this week.
United, which is facing quite the PR nightmare already if you can't tell, issued the following statement: "These passengers repeatedly attempted to sit in upgraded seating which they did not purchase and they would not follow crew instructions to return to their assigned seats."