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United gave away a toddler's seat, forcing his mom to hold him during a 3-hour flight


In the latest in a string of apologies, United Airlines has said sorry to a passenger whose 2-year-old son lost his seat on a flight.

Well... we say "lost." The airline gave the seat away, forcing the mother to hold her toddler for the entirety of a three-hour flight, causing her arm and leg to go numb, The Washington Post reported.

Shirley Yamauchi, a middle school teacher from Hawaii, said she paid as much for her son Taizo's seat as she had for hers -- nearly $1,000. The two were flying from Hawaii to Boston, with a layover in Houston.

However, when Yamauchi boarded the plane to Boston, a man came up and asked her to move her son from his seat. Yamauchi was explaining that she had purchased both seats when a flight attendant came by and said simply "flight's full."

United told The Post that the reason Taizo's seat was given away was that his boarding pass was improperly scanned, causing United agents to believe they could give the seat away to a passenger on standby.

United says it is trying to compensate Yamauchi's family for the mistake, but Yamauchi said she was left with nothing but bad options in the moment.

"I was told if we refund you anything right now, we're going to have to cancel the rest of your flight arrangements to Hawaii," she told KITV.

Yamauchi also said she was too nervous to really stand up for herself, given United's recent history.

"I started remembering all those incidents with United on the news. The violence. Teeth being knocked out," she said.

Instead, Yamauchi sat with her son on her lap, causing her arm to be caught between her son, who she says is half her height, and the plane wall.

"At the very end, he was standing up between my knees," she told KITV.

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