Tour player accuses United of discrimination over checked tennis bag.
A professional tennis player is accusing United Airlines of discrimination, claiming that the carrier singled her out for attempting to carry on her tennis bag by claiming it was “oversized.” In a long Facebook post, WTA Tour pro Shuai Zhang said that the carrier denied her request, despite her claims she had carried it on before.
Zhang, who is currently ranked 34 in the world, was flying from Tampa International Airport (TPA) to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) on Wednesday, June 7 when the alleged incident happened. In her post, she claimed that the gate agent was unprofessional to her in denying the baggage allowance. The tennis star accused the gate agent of stretching out her tennis bag in order to prove that it violated United’s carry-on allowance.
“She [the gate agent] even manually stretched out and fully expanded my tennis bag with air and empty space so that it would appear to exceed the maximum length of a carry-on,” Zhang wrote on Facebook. “And she took a photo of it as proof that it doesn’t meet the size requirement!”
During the confrontation, the tennis pro also accused the gate agent of forcefully taking her tennis bag, as well as confiscating her passport and tearing her boarding pass. Zhang alleged the gate agent said she would not be allowed to board if she did not check the bag.
The flyer ultimately relented to the request, taking all five of her tennis rackets and carrying them in a shoulder bag to avoid having multiple carry-ons. Zhang, who is a United MileagePlus Premier 1K flyer, said on social media that this was the first time she had this experience at the gate, going so far as to call it “discrimination.”
I'm terribly sorry to learn of the issues you encountered during your travel. Could you please DM your contact info to can address this? ^SV
— United (@united) June 8, 2017
In a statement on Twitter, the airline said that they “were speaking with the passenger directly.” However, another flyer who claimed to be aboard the flight said on Twitter that Zhang’s comments were incorrect. His comments have not yet been independently corroborated.