The largest expert travel community:
  • 777,336 Total members
  • 4,448 Users online now
  • 1,733,931 Threads
  • 32,176,922 Posts
United Airlines

Lawsuit Accuses United of Forcefully Removing Woman From Business Class

Lawsuit Accuses United of Forcefully Removing Woman From Business Class
Joe Cortez

Flyer claims gate agent pulled her out of seat, used derogatory slur during downgrade process

A new flyer is coming forward to speak out against United Airlines, claiming she was also forced to give up her premium cabin seat without explanation before being forced into economy by a gate agent. The New York Daily Post reports that the flyer, Karen Shiboleth, is suing the carrier in Manhattan Supreme Court for $150,000 over the alleged ordeal.

According to her account, Shiboleth was aboard a United flight bound for London in September 2016, moving to attend grad school at King’s College. In order to accommodate her move, she paid 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points and $3,146 to upgrade to the aircraft’s premium class, BusinessFirst. Assigned to seat 2A, the student experienced no issues until she boarded the aircraft.

After taking her assigned seat, she accuses a gate agent working for the airline of boarding the aircraft and demanding she give up her seat and move to the rear. She claims the agent would not give her a reason why she had to be moved, or why she could not be moved to an empty seat in the premium cabin.

The lawsuit alleges the individual grabbed her arm “without consent” and “forced” her to the back of the aircraft. The filing goes on to accuse the individual of calling her a derogatory female term while escorting her to the back of the aircraft.

“The upgraded BusinessFirst ticket was to ease the burden of her move, improve the care and safety of her personal belongings, and provide convenience from the stresses that accompany moving,” the lawsuit reads. “Especially moving to a new country nearly halfway across the world.”

Shiboleth’s allegations come as United is fending off bad publicity over physically forcing a passenger from United Flight 3411 earlier in April. Immediately afterwards, another flyer claimed that he was given similar treatment to Shiboleth on a flight from Hawaii to the mainland United States.

The airline acknowledged the lawsuit to the New York Daily News, but declined to comment further due to pending litigation.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (5)


  1. cosflyer

    April 26, 2017 at 5:59 am

    looks like a last minute FAM getting booked.

  2. Madison Guy

    April 26, 2017 at 11:46 am

    cosflyer – I thought of a FAM as well, until I read that she was not allowed to use other empty B/F seats.

  3. 5202flyer

    April 26, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    I’m booked in Premium Economy soon on a transatlantic flight, and worry that this now could happen to me – being forced to regular economy.

  4. ExplorerWannabe


    April 27, 2017 at 10:54 am

    There’s got to be more to the story than what she’s telling. Why would a gate agent even WANT to go to the trouble of moving someone like this?

You must be logged in on the FORUM to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in United Airlines

Despite Restrictions, Star Alliance Carriers are Restarting International Flights

Joe CortezOctober 21, 2020

Expanding Airline Networks Could Help Build VFR Recovery, Analysis Says

Joe CortezOctober 21, 2020

To Bring Back Passengers, Airlines Must Reduce Air Travel Stress

Joe CortezOctober 19, 2020

Copyright © 2014 Top News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by Wordpress.


I want emails from FlyerTalk with travel information and promotions. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails