Jean-Marie Simon (left), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (right)
IF UNITED AND SHEILA JACKSON LEE THOUGHT THIS PROBLEM WAS GOING TO GO AWAY QUICKLY, THEY WERE WRONG: Bumped United passenger fires back at Rep. Jackson Lee’s racism charge, airline.
A United passenger whose first-class seat on a recent flight from Houston to D.C. was given to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is firing back at the Democratic congresswoman’s accusations of racism – while challenging the airline’s account of the incident.
Jean-Marie Simon, an attorney and private school teacher, became the latest face of airline passenger woes when she detailed on Facebook and later to the news media how she lost her seat to the Texas lawmaker.
But despite a statement from United seeking to explain the switch-out, she’s not giving up the fight. And the congresswoman’s response – essentially claiming Simon made a scene because Jackson Lee, as an African-American woman, is an “easy target” – did not calm the waters.
Simon, in an interview with Fox News, rejected the racism allegation.
“That could have been Donald Duck in my seat,” Simon, a Democrat, told Fox News on Thursday. “I could not see who had boarded the flight. I didn’t even know who she was.”
Simon originally accused United of bumping her from her first-class seat on a Dec. 18 flight in order to accommodate the Texas congresswoman.
At first, Simon didn’t know who was in her seat as she argued at the gate. United eventually gave her a $500 voucher and reseated her in the economy plus section. In her original Facebook post, Simon said another Texas congressman then informed her a fellow member of the delegation was in her seat, and “regularly does this” to passengers.
Simon proceeded to take a photo of Jackson Lee, have a tense encounter with a flight attendant who allegedly threatened to remove her — and has been battling with the airline ever since she got home. . . .
Simon used 140,000 frequent flyer miles on Dec. 3 to purchase her first-class ticket from Washington, D.C., to Guatemala and back. On her way home, she had a layover at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.
Simon said the attendant scanned her ticket but her reservation had been removed from the system.
At that point, the member of Congress already was in first class, and Simon eventually got the economy plus seat.
I don’t think that someone with Sheila Jackson Lee’s documented history of abusing her position should serve on Homeland Security, much less as the ranking member of Transportation Security.
Related: Woman Accused of Racism by Dem Rep Sheila Jackson Lee is Human Rights Activist.
Also: In fallout of Sheila Jackson Lee’s ‘United’ incident, let’s not forget she once was named ‘meanest’ member of Congress.