An engaged couple traveling from Houston to Costa Rica claimed they were unfairly booted from a United Airlines flight en route to their wedding.
Michael Hohl and his fiancée, Amber Maxwell, were the last to board United Airlines Flight 1737 on Saturday and saw a man was spread across their row of seats napping, Hohl told KHOU 11. The couple decided to sit in seats three rows up, thinking it would not be a problem because the flight was only half full.
“We thought not a big deal, it’s not like we are trying to jump up into a first-class seat,” Hohl said. “We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat.”
According to United—still under scrutiny after a video last week showed security officers dragging a passenger from a plane—the couple had moved to an upgraded “economy plus” seat. The couple offered to pay for an upgrade but was told by a flight attendant to return to their assigned seats. According to Hohl, a U.S. Marshall asked them to get off the plane after they complied with the attendant’s request.
United Airlines gave a slightly different account of the incident, saying there was no involvement with a U.S. Marshall or other authorities. In a statement to Reuters, the airline said the couple “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.” United added that the couple left the plane after a request from staff.
A United spokeswoman said the airline rebooked the couple for a Sunday morning flight and offered them a discounted hotel room for the night.