Mom holds tot in lap during flight, seat sold to standby traveler

United Airlines has apologized to a Hawaii woman forced to hold her toddler for an entire flight after his seat was sold to a standby passenger.

Shirley Yamauchi was in the middle of an 18-hour journey back home from Boston with her 27-month-old son Taizo last Thursday when the two seats she bought for a leg of their trip suddenly shrunk to one.

The 42-year-old mother, who spent almost $ 1,000 for each ticket, said a man approached as the plane was readying to leave Houston, and said he had the same seat as her son.

Taizo was forced into her lap for the more-than three-hour flight.

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Shirley Yamaguchi says that United Airlines gave her 27-month-old son’s ticket to a standby customer.

(Brad Cailing via Facebook)

“He’s 25 pounds. He’s half my height. I was very unconformable. My left arm was smashed up against the wall. I lost feeling in my legs and my left arm,” she told KHNL.

Yamauchi said she thought about contacting a flight attendant, but remembered that problems with seating led to Dr. David Dao being bloodied and dragged out of a United flight from Chicago to Louisville.

United apologized to the mother and her son on Wednesday, telling the Daily News in a statement that workers “inaccurately scanned the boarding pass of Ms. Yamauchi’s son.”

Yamauchi said that she lost feeling in her legs but was afraid of a confrontation with United Airlines.

Yamauchi said that she lost feeling in her legs but was afraid of a confrontation with United Airlines.


“As a result, her son’s seat appeared to be not checked in, and staff released his seat to another customer and Ms. Yamauchi held her son for the flight. We deeply apologize to Ms. Yamauchi and her son for this experience,” it said.

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The company said it is refunding the son’s ticket and issuing a travel voucher.

united airlines

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