Nigerian Mother Sues United Airlines for Kicking Her, Children Out of Plane

Nigerian Mother Sues United Airlines for Kicking Her, Children Out of Plane

On her way back, the same passenger reportedly blocked her from accessing her seat.

According to the reports, the trio were on their second leg of a three-flight journey to Ontario, Canada, from Lagos.

The lawsuit also stated that, "United Airlines discriminated against Obioma and her children during the incident on March 4, 2016 at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston because they were black".

The incident involving the passenger, a white male, happened two years ago, when Queen Obioma, a Nigerian citizen, and her two children were boarding a flight from Houston to San Francisco. She said "excuse me" thrice but when the passenger refused, Obioma squeezed her way past him.


Obioma noticed that the other passenger has taken her seat in the business-class cabin, as per the lawsuit, which was filed on Friday in the federal court of Houston. The man refused to move, so a flight crew member, instead, asked Obioma to sit elsewhere in business class. When flight attendant couldn't resolve the conflict, Obioma agreed to take his spot to solve the matter, according to the lawsuit. On her way back to her seat, the same passenger was standing in the aisle and blocking her from getting to her seat, the lawsuit says.

But after she sat down, a crew member told Obioma to get off the plane, and she was told would be removed from the flight. She tried to explain she wanted to take her children to school in Canada but the crew members refused to let her board the plane. The mother then alleges that a United staffer, identified as Russel H., instructed her to step off the plane, where she was informed by another United agent that the pilot requested that she exit as the man causing trouble complained that she was "pungent" and did not feel comfortable flying with her. Due to the delay, Obioma and her kids missed previously scheduled appointments and extended her stay, incurring additional expenses.

Obioma, appalled at the situation, requested to have her children deplane as well so the family could be together. The allegations continue a string of embarrassments over the airline's customer service failures, while adding a racial element that could even further erode United's battered public image. While Obioma was putting her luggage in the overhead compartment, she saw the man get up and go to the cockpit of the plane.

Obioma is seeking punitive damages of an unspecified amount and legal fees from the airline.

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