A French woman passenger was reportedly misdirected to the wrong flight after United Airlines allegedly failed to notify her of the last-minute changes.
Lucie Bahetoukilae, the French passenger who doesn’t speak English, recalled to ABC-TV the full-day debacle she experienced with United Airlines. According to Bahetoukilae, she was supposed to be traveling to Paris but ended up on the west coast.
The passenger explained that she bought a ticket from New Jersey ‘s Newark Airport to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and expected a seven-hour flight. However, Bahetoukilae finds herself flying nearly 3,000 miles in the wrong direction going to San Francisco.
Apparently, Bahetoukilae was clueless that there were last-minute changes in her United Airlines flight. She noted that originally, her boarding pass stated “Newark to Charles de Gaulle.” Everything went smoothly as planned as she went to the gate stamped on it and even had a United Airlines representative scanned it. Eventually, Bahetoukilae boarded the plane and headed for seat, 22C.
However, upon reaching her assigned seat, someone else was already occupying it.
“When she went to sit someone was sitting there already,” her niece, Diane Miantsoko, translated.
Despite the obvious mistake, the United Airlines flight attendant allegedly did not even question why there were two passengers booked for the same seat. Instead, the crew simply looked at her boarding pass and “sat her somewhere else.”
It was too late when Bahetoukilae realized the mistake. Bahetoukilae claimed that United Airlines “never made the gate announcement in French or notified her by email.” The French passenger pointed out that if United Airlines notified her in advance, the incident would’ve been avoided.
“If they would have made the announcement in French, she would she have moved gates. Of course, because she speaks French she would’ve moved to another gate.”
Bahetoukilae, who was left with no choice but to fly in the wrong direction, had to wait through an 11-hour layover. The passenger had been traveling for more than 28 hours before United Airlines reroute her back to her original destination, France.
Miantsoko expressed her disappointment and concern about the “apparent security lapse” by United Airlines.
“With everything going on in this country people have to be more careful. They didn’t pay attention. My aunt could have been anyone. She could have been a terrorist and killed people on that flight and they didn’t know, they didn’t catch it.”
She also noted that her aunt is not after the money at all. In fact, she revealed that Bahetoukilae was not seeking a refund.
“This is not about money, this is about United getting serious with their employees.”
Meanwhile, United Airlines released a statement to ABC-TV apologizing to the French passenger and calling the incident “a horrible failure.” The airline company also admitted to “mistakenly putting [Bahetoukilae] on the wrong flight.” They also assured that their team in Newark is doing everything they can to prevent such incident from happening again.
Also, United Airlines also paid for Bahetoukilae’s accommodations while waiting for her return flight, which was reportedly not offered to her initially. Although the passenger was not asking for a refund, United Airlines issued her one along with a voucher for another trip in the future.
Recently, United Airlines suffers a slew of PR crisis. It can be recalled that the company faced major backlash when a passenger was violently dragged off the plane. A Mexican passenger was also accused of trafficking his own child, and a Utah couple were reportedly kicked off their United Airlines flight on the way to their wedding venue.
United Airlines has announced several policy changes in line with the reported incidents.
[Featured Image by Tim Boyle/Getty Images]