Hawaii mom sues United after her toddler's seat was sold to standby passenger

Hawaii mom sues United after her toddler's seat was sold to standby passenger
Published: Jul. 24, 2017 at 8:11 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 25, 2017 at 8:22 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii mother who was forced to hold her 2-year-old son in her lap after United Airlines sold his seat to a standby passenger is now suing the airline.

Shirley Yamauchi said she hopes her lawsuit will help protect other passengers from this type of treatment.

"United said they would change and I want to see that happen. I don't want anymore passengers possibly in danger," she said.

Her attorney says he's ready for a trial.

"United deserves everything we can do to them. We'll let the people decide what to do to people that are this greedy and put lives potentially in danger," said attorney Michael Green.

Yamauchi, a Kapolei Middle School teacher, held her toddler, Taizo, for the entire three-and-a-half hour flight from Houston to Boston.

When she brought the problem up to flight attendants, Yamauchi said she was ignored.

The airline didn't apologize or respond to her until five days later, saying agents inaccurately scanned Taizo's boarding pass.

"It could've been resolved at that point, yet not a single flight attendant asked why he was on my lap the whole duration of the flight," Yamauchi said.

On her return trip back to Hawaii from a conference in Boston, she said the airline gave her free upgrades and perks, but she felt the gestures were not genuine.

"There was a representative waiting for us. We were escorted to their United lounge, but we explained we don't have a membership with them, yet they asked us to utilize their lounge. The three of us were moved to business class after getting our tickets. He offered to carry my bag for me down to baggage claim. We both received a lei. A flower lei," she said.

When asked for comment about the potential lawsuit, United said, "We reached out to Ms. Yamauchi to apologize to her and her son, and we also refunded their tickets."

Back in April, United faced a lawsuit after a doctor was bloodied while being dragged off a United flight when he refused to give up his seat. A settlement for an undisclosed amount was quickly reached.

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