According to million-mile flyer, Mary Campos, United switched her from her pre-booked seat to another one to accommodate a request.
It wasn’t a request to move a family together or to move an underaged person out of the exit row. The two men who were going to share the row with her requested that she be moved. They didn’t want to sit next to a woman.
A million-mile flier, Campos, a mom who lives in Coto de Caza, said she thought she’d seen it all – until a gate agent handed her a new boarding pass just before she got on a flight to Houston last Monday.
“He said, ‘This is your new seat,’” Campos said, “and I said, ‘Excuse me?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this.’”
She said she continued by saying, “Yes?”
And the agent told her, “The two gentlemen seated next to you have cultural beliefs that prevent them for sitting next to, talking to or communicating with females.”
Campos was told the men were Pakistani monks who were wearing long orange shirts. She said the female flight crew was not allowed to serve the men.
Back in February, a woman planned to sue El Al after the men she was seated next to asked her to move.
“There were two women seated there,” she said. “I thought, ‘Oy, if they are going to talk all night I am not going to be happy.’” She asked the flight attendant if he was suggesting the switch because the man next to her wanted her to move, she said, “and he said ‘yes’ without any hesitation.”
WHEN Ms. Rabinowitz returned to her original seat to collect her hand luggage, with the attendant’s assistance, she asked the other passenger, “Why does it matter? I’m 81 years old. And he says, ‘It’s in the Torah.’ ”
In this specific case, Ms. Campos doesn’t plan to sue. She wants people to be aware of what happened.
When an airline switches a seat for a frequent-flyer, it’s usually a sticky situation. Since they have access to premium seats, they usually book their seats with specific intention. But it doesn’t always work out that way.
When I was a Chairman on US Airways, I was swapped to a middle seat to accommodate a family. Their child had been sat by herself in the middle seat. But I couldn’t complain at all–the child’s sitting with her family was clearly more important than my sitting in my original seat.
But I think this case is different. The flyer was moved to accommodate someone else’s preference–and a preference that had to do with the woman’s gender.
Hat tip to Tiff C.!
Edit: Added a line from the first story to make it more clear that these two situations involve different sets of religious beliefs.