by on July 7, 2017 at 12:59 pm in Law, Travel | Permalink

She told Hawaii News Now that she considered protesting, but was scared to make a scene. “I started remembering all those incidents with United on the news. The violence. Teeth being knocked out,” she said.

Here is the full story.  Basically the two-year-old toddler did not have his boarding pass properly scanned, the seat was given away to someone else, and he had to sit on his mother’s lap for a three-hour flight.

1 Don Reba July 7, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Also, all those guitars they broke.


2 Phil G July 7, 2017 at 1:44 pm
3 Tom T. July 7, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Presumably this is also why someone shoots a Congressman.


4 Dan Lavatan-Jeltz July 7, 2017 at 9:11 pm

No, they should just beat up a flight attendant like a normal person. I can’t believe the class traitors on that Chinese flight didn’t all testify that she hit him first. I would have. Plus they turn the plane around like a bunch of losers. If there really is an issue they can deal with it in the People’s Republic. When I am transportation secretary I will pull the ticket of any pilot who returns an airworthy plane to a location other than its filed destination.


5 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Important note:
Airlines typically allow free flights for children under 2 as a “lap child”. In other words, the child sits on the parents lap for the duration of the flight. So it is not at all unusual for a women to hold a baby for a 3 hour flight.
A two-year old is above the age limit, but it’s not all that far off from holind onto a toddler under 2. Annoying, but people do it, it’s legal, and considered safe enough that airlines permit it.


6 Tom T. July 7, 2017 at 1:58 pm

In this case, though, the mother had paid nearly $1000 for the toddler’s separate seat. Also, it’s not like the mother did nothing in response; she raised the problem to a flight attendant who told her tough luck. Her fear was in pursuing the matter past that rebuff, which I think was reasonable in light of recent events.


7 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 2:12 pm

I’m just saying it’s not really a terrible ordeal to hold onto a toddler for a 3 hour flight. It’s legal and people do it all the time to save on airfare.


8 Andrew July 7, 2017 at 3:30 pm

But if I tried to bring a 2 year old on without a seat, it certainly wouldn’t be allowed. In fact, United refused to let my 3 month old son on a flight without proper identification because the agents needed proof that he was under 2.


9 chuck martel July 7, 2017 at 8:23 pm

What’s proper identification for a 3 month old?

10 Dan Lavatan-Jeltz July 7, 2017 at 9:15 pm

You have to forge a passport, but if you think ahead you will have started gathering social security numbers and such in anticipation of their being born. Otherwise a conviction on one account could mess up their whole life, or require they drive the speed limit until their suspension expires, or wait until they are the statutory age to buy guns and so on.

11 Viking July 7, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Sounds like one out of four flights with kid on lap, the whole ticket refunded is a great deal.


12 mulp July 7, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Worst, she was told they could fix it by putting her on a later flight which would result in cancelling all her other car, hotel, return flight, etc reservations. Presumably she had booked the flight, hotel, car, etc as a travel package, maybe through the airline booking system giving the airline booking commissions. The hotel will have no reason to compensate for the airline screwing up after the hotel paid the airline a fee.

You can argue “everyone knows corporations are always liars out to steal your money”, but why would corporationshe invest so much in websites promising such fantastic deals if no one ever bought their lies?

But, given airline employees have been consistently screwed over for decades by the airlines, why should airline employees care when the airline is screwing over customers? It’s just what airlines do, screw over everyone.


13 Larry Siegel July 8, 2017 at 4:16 am

Not in my experience. Mostly what they do is sell me a chair in the sky, something that was physically impossible until December 17, 1903, well within my grandfather’s lifetime. They do so for a fair price, with a domestic flight usually costing less than dinner for four. And they are quite inefficient, with many more cancellations, delays, and reroutings than you might expect. Maybe if we upgraded the air traffic control and airport infrastructure to modern standards, they would be less inefficient.


14 tyler's illegitimate black son July 8, 2017 at 3:32 pm

maybe if ice cream was delivered by mail, the world would be a better place. your points were bad and you should feel bad.

15 Anon_guy July 7, 2017 at 1:55 pm


I’ve always felt the same way about the well publicized police beatings/shootings. If these stories keep the thugs out of my neighborhood, then that’s ok by me. There are an optimal number of police beat downs, and it’s certainly not zero from my perspective.


16 Thor July 7, 2017 at 5:13 pm

A senior (staid, established) Hells Angel lives near us, in our class-wise mixed neighbourhood. Mysteriously petty crime dropped. Not sure if there were any beat downs, but surely they implied.


17 Thor July 7, 2017 at 5:14 pm

My point is, most neighbourhoods get policed, one way or another.


18 gab July 7, 2017 at 5:59 pm

One only wishes the beat down was administered to you so you could have an objective “perspective.”


19 albatross July 8, 2017 at 11:24 am

The question is, what rate of police beat-downs would you accept behing the veil of ignorance as to whether you’d receive one?


20 Anonguysarethebravestorsotheythink July 8, 2017 at 10:49 am

You feel comfortable saying that because you feel you never have to fear that happening to you. Nice attitude! But if tide’s change, I am sure you’ll be the loudest to wine about it.


21 Fazal Majid July 7, 2017 at 1:59 pm

The fear of violence may deter complaints, but it will also deter customers.

Granted, Ms. Yamauchi purchased her ticket before the Dr. David Dao incident, but I can’t understand why anyone would fly the United-American-Delta trifecta when perfectly decent airlines like Alaska or Hawaiian serve those routes. It’s not as if she got a bargain, her son’s ticket was close to $1000. I haven’t flown United in at least ten years and donated my useless miles with them to the Red Cross.


22 Gary Leff July 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm

More deterrence: in 2015 United agents in Houston felt they were too busy to help a 71 year man (even though they weren’t helping other customers at the time). When he persisted, an agent shoved him to the ground. There’s video.

The story only recently came out. Some observers were skeptical — despite the video — because it took so long for the man to speak up.

It turns out that when he raised the incident with United two years ago, they told him that if he sued he’d be banned from flying United again and they’d take away all his miles whether his claims had merit or not:


23 Gary Leff July 7, 2017 at 2:06 pm

By the way, both of these incidents — along with an airline employee allegedly kicking a woman in the head while she rested in the airport chapel ( and having a couple removed from a flight by law enforcement after they tried to sit in empty seats with more legroom ( — involved United in a single city, Houston.


24 Roy LC July 7, 2017 at 6:59 pm

But others involved United in Chicago, notably the incident that made all this get attention.

Keep in mind United’s biggest hubs are IAH and ORD, DEN is up there as well. So it would be surprising if they weren’t coming from these cities.

I have noticed an impressive decline in service quality in United in the last 6 months, and it was already awful. I mostly fly in the West so my experience may not be yours any most of my flight crews are Westerners, and I have actually heard things very close to apologies from them. Particularly pilots.

It has been particularly awful from gate agents, ground attendants and weirdly their immediate supervisors. Something is going on at that airline and it is a lot worse than what is publicly available.

I know of a recent incident where the Travel Ops manager of a major pipeline operator was bumped from a full fare first class seat for not checking in on time, he arrived at gate while plane was still boarding, and had platinum status. They failed to seat him in coach and then seated standby passengers.

If it wasn’t a quasi monopoly it would be disintegrating even faster.


25 ChrisA July 8, 2017 at 4:00 am

It’s a real shame as Continental from IAH used to be excellent, after Gordon Bethume took over it became my favorite airline.

I agree on the quasi monopoly nature of US airlines, ironically the ones that win from this monopoly are the staff of the airlines, not the shareholders, thanks to their strong unions. The best thing that the US could do would be to open up to international flights, imagine Emirates with their internationally sourced workforce competing in the US. They would wipe the floor.


26 mikeInThe716 July 8, 2017 at 7:03 am

Or Singapore Airlines for long flights. They’d be swamped even if they cost 50% more…

There’s a reason you never see US airlines advertise service. Their current business model, with little competition and labor protected DMV Grade employees, enshrines the status quo.

27 Art Deco July 8, 2017 at 8:08 am

Airlines are a Bertrand oligopoly with slim profit margins.

28 Jack July 7, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Even by the pathetically low standards of the US airline oligopoly, United is in a class by itself. An anecdote: I was boarding a United flight out of Newark to Mumbai a while ago and there was the usual airline chaos and incompetence with people being told to stand here and then there without any apparent reason. An Indian Indian man directly in front of me objected. Two United employees told him to stand aside that he was interfering with the flight and would not be permitted to board. It was obvious that what they were doing was racist — that he was a foreigner who could be taken advantage of for the amusement of the United employees. The Indian man protested and demanded to speak to a supervisor. The two United employees then pulled over a third United employee, some guy in a yellow vest, the kind people wear who load the planes. They told the Indian man he was a supervisor and that he should address his complaint to the man in the yellow vest. At that point i had to board the plane so i don’t know whether the Indian man was allowed to board. It was really shameful — the stupidity and racism of the United employees and that there was no one in a position of authority with any sense anywhere around. I have lots of other United stories but this one will have to do for now.


29 Art Deco July 7, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Even by the pathetically low standards of the US airline oligopoly, United is in a class by itself. An anecdote: I was boarding a United flight out of Newark to Mumbai a while ago and there was the usual airline chaos and incompetence Even by the pathetically low standards of the US airline oligopoly, United is in a class by itself. An anecdote: I was boarding a United flight out of Newark to Mumbai a while ago and there was the usual airline chaos and incompetence

Passenger-miles per year flown in this country have increased by 5.3-fold since 1975. Arrogant jack-wagons who are rude to service personnel have, like the population at large, increased in number by 1.5-fold.


30 A clockwork orange July 7, 2017 at 8:25 pm

Be carefuly little bro, you don’t know jack about Kerouac or the dressed thru workingman Frisco. Just because you are toothsome and winsome, your aquacity is too bold for your prandial ambrosia and zoomorphic disguises.

Your visage like swiss cheese has a neutral hue.


31 Thiago Ribeiro July 7, 2017 at 2:26 pm

This is what America has become.


32 Anonymous July 7, 2017 at 2:58 pm

That statement at least is without exaggeration.


33 Thiago Ribeiro July 7, 2017 at 3:50 pm

I think so.


34 Jim Gunther July 7, 2017 at 2:30 pm

This seems like such a clear case of an unfortunate misunderstanding. It is laughable how the article tries to victimize the woman to such an extent (she held him… “until her arm and leg went numb”). I’m sorry, but while it does suck and is miserable to have to hold a child on an airplane for such a long time, these are truly first world problems we are talking about and there is absolutely zero permanent damage that was caused. The sensationalization of these sorts of events is becoming ridiculous.
David Dao went so many steps further than just a simple protest or speaking up.
It is obvious how a situation like this woman’s could have occurred, and while regrettable, it is definitely understandable. Again, it is ridiculous how the washington post goes on to infer that this is somehow a major safety issue (“the FAA strongly urges a separate seat for children”). The kid is 3 months older than 2 years old, at which age he would have had to sit on his mom’s lap. At 25 lbs, he’s not small, but that’s also a pretty typical size for an under 2 year old. There is nothing outwardly dangerous about the scenario. Further, anyone who has traveled with a toddler probably knows that even if they have their own seat, they often end up in your seat or lap or standing between your legs anyways. No matter if they have their own seat or not, traveling with a toddler is an inconvenience for the parent. I won’t pretend to know what her situation is, and i will give her the benefit of the doubt that she needed to bring her kid on this trip and had no other choice, but i will also say that it seems an odd choice to bring a 2 year old to a work conference thousands of miles away.
Reading through the comments on the wash post article is incredibly disconcerting, seeing all the people who legitimately think this is a United corporate conspiracy, that this 1 out of 1 million event is somehow how United treats all passengers, etc. With hundreds of thousands of passengers a day, an occasional mistake will happen. Give it a break people.


35 The Other Jim July 7, 2017 at 2:40 pm

The WaPo serves no journalistic function.


36 Jan July 8, 2017 at 9:06 am

It’s some of the best reporting out there today. (e.g. this on the latest health care developments in Congress –

You have like 4 canned “Fake News” phrases that you trot out with literally no explanation or context. If the point it to convince someone, it completely fails because it is devoid of information or argument. If the point is to signal your hate to your internet friends, good job I guess?


37 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Kids under 2 don’t HAVE to sit in their parents lap. You can buy a seat for them, but you have to bring a car seat and install it using the airline seat belt.
However, otherwise, I agree. On a really long flight you might want to buy the extra seat because the kid is going to get really restless and want to get away from you. But 3 hours is ok. Airline travel is annoying and moreso with a toddler, whether he’s got his own seat or not. Flying with a lap child is no worse than being a tall person and sitting behind someone who likes to recline.


38 mulp July 7, 2017 at 3:59 pm

She had a child seat. The airline took it from her along with the seat it was in. She paid for both.

Maybe women have no property right?

What if it were a man with his case of hundred thousand in valuables that he had booked a seat for, and the airline took his seat, and the protective case, telling him he can just wear the jewelry or hold the Ming pottery in his lap?


39 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 6:09 pm

They paid her back for the cost of the ticket. Can you not read?


40 mulp July 7, 2017 at 4:17 pm

“seeing all the people who legitimately think this is a United corporate conspiracy, that this 1 out of 1 million event is somehow how United treats all passengers, etc”

Isn’t it a conspiracy?

I stopped flying almost two decades ago, before 911, when it got so much worse than it had become in the first two decades of deregulation. The TV series Pan Am, along with 2001, A Space Odyssey, reminded me of what flying once was. Even hippie students flying standby were treated better than today’s business class passengers back in the 70s. Airports were fun places to go. When someone was flying in, or flying out, we’d pile in the car to play around while waiting for the flight, typically late evening or Saturday when seats were available for standby.

Stacking seats is clearly not a joke, but something airline corporate managers would like to do. If they could shrink wrap passengers and pack them like packages, I’m sure they would try. And they clearly see plane crews as cost burdens and they will do anything to cut labor costs, customers be damned – once they have their money, who cares about passengers?


41 Tanturn July 7, 2017 at 6:42 pm

Easy solution: if you want the Snowflake treatment, and the pre deregulation cost, fly first class.


42 Thor July 7, 2017 at 5:20 pm

Is there enough of a story without the obvious racial component? “United is rude, ineffective” is pretty bland, in our day and age. “Airline is rude, ineffective and member of a racial minority feels intimidated” is precisely what confirms the priors of half my FB friends.


43 Dan Lavatan-Jeltz July 7, 2017 at 9:20 pm

Yeah, United had nothing to do with the cops beating up Dao, the Chicago PD beat up everyone, and I can’t imagine how stupid you have to be to think they won’t beat you up if you resist them. The media is a Trump caricature of itself in terms of inaccuracy and framing.


44 Lanigram July 7, 2017 at 3:06 pm

I heard from a guy who heard from a gal that, as a concession, United Airlines is going to change their name to Untied Airlines.

“Fly the friendly skies of Untied! If you sit quietly and do as we say we’ll let you go.”


45 Kl July 7, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Those cheapskates refunded the kid’s ticket, but not the mom’s!


46 JWatts July 7, 2017 at 5:20 pm

Wow! United Airline is apparently staffed and run by imbeciles.


47 Art Deco July 7, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Why would they refund her ticket? She and her youngster got from point A to point B.


48 JWatts July 7, 2017 at 6:23 pm

Because the cost of the ticket is trivial compared to the bad PR of not giving a refund. It’s Penny wise, but Pound foolish.


49 KL July 7, 2017 at 8:44 pm

@Art Deco: Because she was forced to fly with another passenger (illegally) in her lap. If she paid full fare for the seat, then she is entitled to use it alone. They refunded the child’s fare “as a goodwill gesture”.


50 Art Deco July 8, 2017 at 8:10 am

It’s not illegal to fly with a child on your lap.


51 Jan July 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm

That’s incorrect. If the kid is 2 or older, they must have their own seat. That’s a United policy and FAA regs.

52 Abelard Lindsey July 7, 2017 at 5:34 pm

United Airlines has got problems.


53 Ann O'nymous July 9, 2017 at 7:18 pm

There is one airline company owned by its employees – guess which.


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