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Woman complains United gave her seat to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Jackson Lee calls her racist

Woman complains United gave her seat to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Jackson Lee calls her racist

Jackson Lee: Woman complained about losing her seat “because I was an African American woman”

A woman named Jean Marie Simon was scheduled to take a United Airlines flight, booked into First Class using miles.

Then she realized that United had bumped her from the seat, and given it to Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

The woman posted a photo on Twitter and also went public with her story:

The reactions of both United and Jackson Lee were sadly predictable.

United blamed the passenger, in a convoluted claim that the passenger had cancelled the seat from her mobile phone app and then immediately re-booked. The passenger rejected that claim, as the Houston Chronicle reports:

“After thoroughly examining our electronic records, we found that upon receiving a notification that Flight 788 was delayed due to weather, the customer appears to have canceled her flight from Houston to Washington, D.C. within the United mobile app,” United said in a statement. “As part of the normal pre-boarding process, gate agents began clearing standby and upgrade customers, including the first customer on the waitlist for an upgrade.”

Simon denies that she cancelled her ticket. She sent a reporter a screenshot of the United website showing only one “inactive” reservation – a flight to Houston in August to visit her daughter that she had to cancel because of Hurricane Harvey.

A United official said screenshot doesn’t show the December flight as cancelled because she ultimately took the flight….

She said the plane took off at 12:50 p.m. and she arrived home that night, still upset. Simon wrote a letter to airline’s CEO and posted it on Facebook and Twitter. A “resolution manager” called her Saturday morning and apologized at least a half-dozen times, she said.

She said she wants a formal, written apology from United.

“It’s just impossible to suspend disbelief and swallow that story that I cancelled my flight,” Simon said.

United has suffered a string of customer relations gaffes this year.

In June, a woman said she was forced to give up her 2-year-old’s $969 seat on a flight from Houston to Boston and hold him for roughly three hours because the airline sold the seat.

In April, Dr. David Dao was forcibly removed from a United Express flight in Chicago to make space for crew members headed to Louisville, Ky.

The airline announced policy changes after that incident and its CEO, Oscar Munoz, has promised a “culture shift toward becoming a better, more customer-focused airline.”

Jackson Lee didn’t see this as a mere dispute, issuing a statement that the woman complaining was racist:

Since this was not any fault of mine, the way the individual continued to act appeared to be, upon reflection, because I was an African American woman, seemingly an easy target along with the African American flight attendant who was very, very nice,” Jackson Lee said in the statement. “This saddens me, especially at this time of year given all of the things we have to work on to help people. But in the spirit of this season and out of the sincerity of my heart, if it is perceived that I had anything to do with this, I am kind enough to simply say sorry.



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I know Jean Marie. She is a tough cookie and no flake. She is also not a racist. She spent years as a photographer and human rights activist in Guatemala before going on to graduate from Harvard Law School. Unlike Lee, she has actually done something for the downtrodden and disenfranchised. Shame on Lee for acting not just like Marie Antoinette but also for her disgusting bogus claim of “racism.” She should be removed from office

    “She should be removed from office.”

    Have you seen the character of SJL’s “constituents?” SJL really is in a true representative.

    As with Ted Kennedy, they’ll be carrying SJL’s considerably-sized body out feet first.

      nebel in reply to fscarn. | December 25, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      This story could/should turn into a bribery prosecution. United provided first class seats and special treatment worth thousands of dollars in monetary value to SJL. IF SJL received special treatment for most of her congressional tenure, then the value would be in the tens of thousands of dollars. It seems most likely that United provided SJL with the alleged special treatment (again worth monetary value) to influence her actions as a Congressperson. In return, SJL used her position in Congress to secure over $20M of funding for the Houston airport where United has an airline hub. I wouldn’t be surprised if SJL demanded the special treatment on the grounds that she was a Congressperson (ie SJL likely solicited bribes).

        Milhouse in reply to nebel. | December 25, 2017 at 5:34 pm

        Bzzzt. Without proving a quid pro quo agreement there is no bribery case. And no matter what, a vote cast in Congress can never be a crime, even if it’s been explicitly bought and paid for. Only what she does off the floor can be criminal.

          nebel in reply to Milhouse. | December 25, 2017 at 6:01 pm

          18 U.S. Code § 201
          All you need to prove that UAL gave a bribe is that UAL provided something of value with the intent to influence an official act.

          SJL received something of value (better airline seating and service). UAL did not unseat passengers and provide special treatment out of the kindness of its heart. The only reasonable motive is that UAL was trying to influence the actions of SJL. At the very least there is probable cause to obtain further evidence from UAL and SJL.

          Second, what UAL did to the passenger was fraud. If SJL knew that UAL was cancelling people’s tickets to make room for her, she would have ALSO accepted a bribe under 18 U.S. Code § 201-2-b by aiding, allowing, or colluding in any fraud.

          Bribery of public officials and witnesses

          (b) Whoever—

          (1) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official or person who has been selected to be a public official, or offers or promises any public official or any person who has been selected to be a public official to give anything of value to any other person or entity, with intent—

          (A) to influence any official act;

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | December 26, 2017 at 11:29 am

          nebel, the key phrase, which you quote but then ignore, is “with the intent to influence an official act”. Which official act do you allege UAL was attempting to influence, and, supposing you could identify one, how would you go about proving it beyond reasonable doubt? “Trying to influence the actions” is not enough.

          “Second, what UAL did to the passenger was fraud.” Let’s start with how you know, and how you could prove beyond reasonable doubt, that the airline is not telling the truth, and passenger didn’t cancel her seat as soon as she heard the flight was delayed? Second, even if it is lying, the right to bump people is in the terms of every ticket, so where’s the fraud? She knew in advance that this might happen if a flight was overbooked, and she received compensation.

          FineReport, as near as I can figure out Jefferson was not convicted of taking bribes but of paying them, or conspiring to pay them, to African officials. He was using his prestige as a US elected official to broker deals for people, which isn’t illegal, but these deals allegedly involved corrupt payments, which is. But it took an FBI sting operation to catch him.

          Duke Cunningham was caught explicitly selling his votes, with a friggin’ price list! Again he was caught by a sting operation.

          Neither of these examples are applicable to this situation. How could the FBI sting her on this? Pose as airline officials and offer her upgrades in return for her vote on some specific bill?!

    I keep voting against her. The last Republican that ran against her was a solid choice and I was elated to vote for her, but alas … inertia. The Republican candidate garnered 25% of the vote hopefully she will keep running and build more support, and finally boot the embarrassment that is Sheila Jackson Lee from office.

      Let us know of the good choices for the seat and maybe some of us will contribute some funds. I live in an area that is solidly Republican/Conservative, so I can donate to other districts.


      And there is always a but…. these up and coming candidates need to realize that they will get out of district donations, but don’t keep bugging them forever! I donated to Scott Brown in MA and got emails forever, even though I kept replying to stop and that I was in another state.

        Shane in reply to Liz. | December 25, 2017 at 11:16 am

        Liz … Lori Bartley

        I am not sure what her future aspirations are, but certainly a breath of fresh air compared to Enron stooge Lee.

        Chicklet in reply to Liz. | December 25, 2017 at 11:16 am

        Great point about the donations, unfortunately the ‘consultants’ and fund raisers most of the GOP use seem to be from the same swamp we want drained.

        Now I’m truly afraid to donate, even to a worthy candidate, because it marks me with phone calls, letters and emails for dozens of other races and issues. Why can’t they use all that effort on someone who hasn’t contributed? How many more red pamphlets with a giant blue star on it do I need?

        Tom Servo in reply to Liz. | December 25, 2017 at 1:12 pm

        Sadly, there is only one way to win in Sheila Lee’s district – promise instant amnesty and full citizenship for illegals (hispanics comprise 43% of her district), combined with expanded welfare benefits plus reparations payments for all African Americans (36% of her district)

        Anyone who actually cared about some poor white traveler could never expect more than 20% of her district to support them.

I fired untied a long time ago and only fly southwest. It may be greyhuof the sky but it always gets me there. I commut weekly – every united flight was a a disaster and late. Two thanksgivings ago I booked a ticket for my family. After united cancelled the flight (not because of weather) I sought a refund of 1200. 4 calls later, never go my money should have disputed charge throu Amex but never did.

“No. It’s because you’re a privileged bitch.”

Greedy as a pig,and not as useful.

Who paid for her to fly first class? Us? Why?

4th armored div | December 25, 2017 at 10:30 am

this is NOT good PR for disUnited or the ‘queen’ of da house.

this posting needs renewal after Jan 1 – most readers have
other things to do today to pay attention to this VERY important post.

Swamp denizens don’t apologize for their swampiness.

My mother was on the Houston school board with this NY-carpetbagger and she has not changed a whit since the 1970s – mouth just as big – but does need that wider 1st class seat.

According to the Breitbart News report of the incident “A Texas congressman who sat in the seat next to Lee told Simon that the congresswoman had reportedly bumped other passengers before. ‘Jackson Lee gives us all a bad name; it’s shameful,’ he added.”

The fact is Congresswoman Lee saw what she thought was a helpless white woman but found a woman willing to unmask a privileged black congresswoman and an airline willing to enable her privilege. I hope both Lee and United pay dearly for their racist actions against the poor white traveler.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to kjon. | December 25, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    United has been my last choice for several decades. I’d like to see Jean Marie Simon do something like that Canadian musician who, after being gaffed off by United, did a great video called “United Breaks Guitars”.

not to be hard to get along with, but why are these arse holes flying first class, and who is paying for the tickets.

United has a history of bumping ticketed passengers. Back when Continental and United had just merged I had a Business class set from Atlanta to Guam and it had 2 layovers. The flight out of ATL stopped in Houston where we were to stay on the same plane and then continue on to Hawaii.

We had to deplane in Houston while they serviced it. I had the same seat on the second leg and got bumped. The flight was full so I had to go standby on the next flight to HI. This caused me to miss my flight from HI to Guam. My co-worker who was still in Business class later confirmed it was a congressman who bumped me.

I finally got to HI flying in coach and was put up in a hotel for the flight the next day. I flew coach on that flight as well as business class was booked. It took 2 months to get reimbursed the extra $6k a business class ticket over a economy ticket.

They lost my business.

Hey… dumb loudmouth racists deserve representation too. SJL provides that.

It’s not color privilege, because white, black, or whatever don’t receive equal treatment. Perhaps it’s social or political privilege (a.k.a. diversity).


Whenever conservatives challenged Obama on policy, they were labeled racists by the liberals. Now that an airline’s upgrade policy is being challenged, that sucker…uh,customer…is a racist, too.

When are we going start throwing the racist label back in the face of liberals who challenge Trump on policy?

I’m inclined to believe the passenger about SJL. The following true story is why:

A family friend married the daughter of a now-retired congressman. She shared an experience from when he had just begun serving. Her first year in college she was going on an scheduled overseas trip with other students. She had a sports competition and so had to join the group later for the final leg of the trip in NYC. Unfortunately, her first flight was delayed, causing her to potentially miss her connecting flight that would get her to NY. In tears, as 18 yr old daughters can do, she called her dad for help. He was in a meeting so his staff talked to her and told her to just get on the delayed flight. Next thing she knew, when the plane landed her name was called and she was escorted by airline officials to her connecting flight – that had been delayed for her. When she reached NY she was again met by airline officials and again escorted to the second flight that had been delayed where she was united with her travel group. She didn’t ask for this kind of help and neither did her father – but the junior congressman’s staff did. Her comment was, “I had no idea how much power an elected official had!”

As George Orwell observed, some pigs are more equal than others.

I too believe the passenger. SJL has a history of making life miserable for Continental/United employees. I understand that at one point that the some of the IAH – Reagan Continental pilots wanted to ban her for her antics and flight delays, but were ultimately overruled by regulatory relations.

Occasional Thinker | December 25, 2017 at 5:49 pm

I look at this photo and my first thought is this is not an issue of privilege but of ADA compliance. I don’t think she would fit in a coach seat. Obesity is, for some reason,a disability.

Sheila Jackson-Lee is a royal, entitled bitch. I know for a fact that she is one of the worst congresscritters to work for as a staffer. She makes their lives a living hell as she considers them personal servants. Why should she treat a member of the flying public like dirt, too.

But like Conyers’ seat in Detroit, her seat is a royal fiefdom that’s hers for life and if for some reason she has to vacate it she will be able to designate some relative or crony to succeed her. And it’s for the same reason. Detroit is a third world city. SJL’s district is also poor. But if you keep your constituents poor and dependent you can buy their votes with a slice of pizza and a can of Coke.

Seriously; not joke. Apparently that’s not worth enough money to be considered vote buying. So she throws a pizza party in a park or something, then after everyone has their slice of pizza they all march off to the polls to vote. If your net worth is less than $5 getting a free slice of pizza and a Coke make that a very good day.

I campaigned for Pastor Broden in Eddie Bernice-Johnson’s district a few years ago. It was shortly after the news came out that she had raided her share of the CBC scholarship fund to send her grandkids or her staffers’ children to college. Ostensibly that money is supposed to be spent on her constituents. That’s what the CBC says anyway. But her constituents were always and forever going to vote for her for “All she had done for the community.” Have you ever seen Oak Cliff in Dallas? It’s like a smaller version of Detroit. I didn’t say it, but I was thinking “You mean for all she’s done TO the community.”

I never campaigned there again. As H.L. Mencken said, “Democracy is based on the idea that the voters know what they want. And deserve to get it, good and hard.”

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Arminius. | December 28, 2017 at 10:42 am

    I didn’t say it, but I was thinking “You mean for all she’s done TO the community.”

    Her constituents did it to themselves. No one sneaks into the district in the dead of night and trashes the place.

“…I am kind enough to simply say sorry.”

That’s not how one says she is sorry. She does it by getting out of the seat and waiting her turn for an available seat like everyone else. Lee has a “queen bee” complex and needs to apologize for that, too.

Whether the circumstances are as reported or not … I’m sick of this shit … everyone in WA from the top down are scum. Screw those people.

What a bigoted thing to say. Jackson Lee “because I was an African American woman”.

Race had no part of this until she play her overused card.

MaxWebXperienZ | December 26, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Black women are born with delusions of royalty.

Char Char Binks | December 26, 2017 at 3:43 pm

Jackson Lee shouldn’t be allowed to appropriate Wright culture.

huh…not sure if mentioned before (been plowing 28hrs on xmas day..)