Couple flying to Costa Rica to get married kicked off United flight

HOUSTON — A couple who were flying to Costa Rica to get married were kicked off a United Airlines flight in Houston for what the airline said was for not following crew instructions.

KHOU reported that Michael Hohl and his fiancee Amber Maxwell were flying from Salt Lake City when they had a layover at George Bush International Airport in Houston.

Hohl and Maxwell told the station they were the last to board the plane, but when they reached their seats, a man was found sleeping.

Hohl and Maxwell didn’t want to wake the man, so they went to other seats on the half-full plane.

“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 told the couple they needed to return to their ticketed seats three rows back because the ones they took were “economy plus.”

Hohl told the station the couple did so. But then a federal air marshal came aboard and told the couple they had to be removed. Hohl and Maxwell did so without incident, less than a week after law enforcement forcibly removed David Dao off a United flight in Chicago.

“They said that we were being disorderly and a hazard to the rest of the flight, to the safety of the other customers,” Hohl told the station.

Hohl said the couple did ask to be upgraded, but were denied, the Dallas Morning-News reported.

“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 in a statement.

The couple were rebooked Sunday morning but said they’re done flying United.

“I think customer service and the airlines has gone real downhill,” Hohl said. “The way United Airlines handled this was really absurd.”