sheila jackson lee

Sheila Jackson Lee

*Here’s a messy situation we bet Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee wishes her name wasn’t a part of.

A passenger on a flight from Houston to Washington D.C. has accused United Airlines of giving her first-class seat to the Democratic Congresswoman from Houston, Texas. On top of that the woman says the airline threatened to kick her off the plane for complaining and taking a picture of Jackson Lee.

“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 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 told the Houston Chronicle the gate attendant scanned her paper ticket and told her it was not in the system.

Did you cancel your flight?, the attendant asked.

When asked by the the attendant if she canceled her flight, she replied, “No.” She added, “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.

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

“After thoroughly examining our electronic records, we found that upon receiving a notification that Flight 788 was delayed due to weather, the customer appears to have canceled her flight from Houston to Washington, D.C. within the United mobile app,” United said in a statement. “As part of the normal pre-boarding process, gate agents began clearing standby and upgrade customers, including the first customer on the waitlist for an upgrade.”

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jean-marie simon & sheila jackson lee

Jean-Marie Simon – Sheila Jackson Lee

Simon denies that she cancelled her ticket. She sent a reporter a screenshot of the United website showing only one “inactive” reservation – a flight to Houston in August to visit her daughter that she had to cancel because of Hurricane Harvey.

A United official said screenshot doesn’t show the December flight as cancelled because she ultimately took the flight.

The official provided another screenshot of United’s internal software system and said that it showed the flight had been cancelled on a mobile app, though a reporter was unable to independently verify that on Saturday because of the system’s coding.

On Saturday afternoon, Jackson Lee issued a statement saying:

“I asked for nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary and received nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary.”

You read the rest of this story Houston Chronicle story at Chron.com.