A bride and groom were kicked off their United Airlines flight from Houston this weekend as they traveled to Costa Rica for their wedding.
Amber Maxwell and Michael Hohl of Park City, Utah, had flown from Salt Lake City to George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Saturday and had a connecting flight to Liberia, Costa Rica.
Hohl told KHOU-TV that he and his bride-to-be were the last people to board United Flight 1737.
He said a man was lying — asleep — across their assigned seats, so they sat in a pair of seats three rows closer to the front of the half-full cabin.
“We thought not a big deal, it’s not like we are trying to jump up into a first-class seat,” Hohl told the station. “We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat.”
A flight attendant then told the couple to move to their assigned seats, which they did after asking for an upgrade and being told no, Hohl said.
But then, Hohl said, a law-enforcement officer asked them to get off the plane because the crew said they were “being disorderly and a hazard to the rest of the flight.”
He told KUTV-TV that they cooperated because video of Dr. David Dao being dragged off a United Express plane April 9 was fresh in their minds.
In a statement, United said the couple repeatedly tried to sit in upgraded seats.
“These passengers repeatedly attempted to sit in upgraded seating which they did not purchase and they would not follow crew instructions to return to their assigned seats,” the airline said.
Flight 1737’s takeoff Saturday evening was delayed about 25 minutes, according to FlightAware.
Maxwell and Hohl were rebooked onto a Sunday flight to Costa Rica; their wedding is set for Thursday.
United faced widespread criticism — and a sharp drop in its stock price — after footage of a bloodied Dao being pulled down an aisle went viral.
The airline has said it will review its policies and that law-enforcement officers will no longer be allowed to take passengers off of flights. On Sunday, an airline spokeswoman told The New York Times that United employees would no longer be able to take the seats of passengers who had boarded flights.
Dao’s lawyer, who plans to sue, said his client suffered a concussion and a broken nose and lost his two front teeth in the incident.