United Airlines cannot catch a break (or learn from their mistakes). According to New York Daily News, a United employee "forced a graduate student from her business class seat to the plane’s rear without any justification."
Karen Shiboleth, who boarded the flight on September 10, 2016, claims the employee called her a name during the incident. Shiboleth has now filed a lawsuit against the airline.
Shiboleth said she did not normally fly business class, but felt the $3,146,46 and 60,000 American Express reward miles ticket was worth it since she was moving most of her valuables to attend school in London.
"The upgraded BusinessFirst ticket was to ease the burden of her move, improve the care and safety of her personal belongings, and provide convenience from the stresses that accompany moving — especially moving to a new country nearly halfway across the world," the lawsuit states. It also claims that the employee "without explanation, demanded that Plaintiff vacate her seat in United BusinessFirst and move to the back of the plane."
The lawsuit was filed with the Manhattan Supreme Court on Monday, April 24, 2017.
Shiboleth claims no one would tell her why she was being moved when there were so many other empty BusinessFirst seats in her vicinity.
Even showing her valid ticket did nothing. The employee "was not even a flight attendant — evidently boarded the plane for the sole purpose of harassing, humiliating, embarrassing and physically accosting Plaintiff in front of other passengers."
Although Shiboleth asked for a partial refund, the flight attendants felt they could not explain what happened to her. The employee who moved her would only offer her a $750 voucher towards a future ticket purchase.
Shiboleth is now seeking $150,000 in damages, but claims United will not reimburse her.
“Our goal is to provide all of our customers with a great travel experience," United said in a statement. "We are aware of the filing and reviewing it, but due to pending litigation we are unable to comment further."
United is facing another lawsuit from Kentucky physician David Dao, who was forcibly removed from an overbooked United Airlines flight when he refused to give up his seat.