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FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2015 file photo, a United Airlines passenger plane lands at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J. The parent company of United Airlines will pay $2.4 million to settle civil charges by securities regulators over flights that were started to help an official who oversaw one of the airline's hub airports. The Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, that shareholders of United Continental Holdings Inc. paid for a money-losing flight that the airline approved only after disregarding its usual process for evaluating routes. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

United Airlines apologized to a passenger who said Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee took her seat

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United Airlines has apologized and given a $500 travel voucher to a passenger who accused the airline of giving her first-class seat to U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

An airline spokeswoman said Monday that its internal systems show the passenger, Jean-Marie Simon, canceled her Dec. 18 seat from Houston to Washington, D.C. after a weather delay.

Simon denies that she canceled the flight. She was given a seat in Economy Plus on the flight, and told the Houston Chronicle she saw Jackson Lee sitting in the seat that was assigned to her.

United says it upgraded Jackson Lee automatically and not because she was a member of Congress. The congresswoman says in a statement that she didn't ask for anything "exceptional or out of the ordinary."

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