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United Airlines apologizes after sending woman to San Francisco instead of Paris

United Passenger Lucie Bahetoukilae
United Passenger Lucie Bahetoukilae

(United Airlines accidentally sent passenger Lucie Bahetoukilae to San Francisco instead of Paris.WABC-TV)

A United Airlines passenger thought she was going to Paris, but instead she ended up flying about 3,000 miles in the wrong direction.

The passenger, Lucie Bahetoukilae, was planning to travel from Newark, New Jersey, to Paris on April 24, but she ended up in San Francisco even though her ticket clearly said "Newark to Charles de Gaulle."

Bahetoukilae, who speaks only French, went to the gate number that was on her boarding pass, had her ticket scanned by the agent, and then proceeded to board the plane, according to a report from WABC-TV. But Bahetoukilae did not notice the gate for her flight to Paris had changed.

After Bahetoukilae boarded the plane, she noticed someone in her seat, so she handed her ticket to a flight attendant, who directed her to a new seat.

Once in San Francisco, Bahetoukilae had to endure an 11-hour layover before boarding a new flight back to Paris, according to the report. Altogether, she ended up spending about 28 hours in transit.

"We deeply apologize to Ms. Bahetoukilae for this unacceptable experience," the airline said in a statement to Business Insider. "When she arrived in San Francisco we ensured she got on the next flight to Paris and refunded her ticket. Our customer care team has reached out to her directly to ensure we make this right. We are also working with our team in Newark to prevent this from happening again."

United has come under fire following the forcible removal of passenger David Dao, a 69-year-old doctor, from a flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky.

On April 9, Dao was dragged off flight 3411 by Chicago Aviation police officers after refusing to give up his seat on the full plane for airline employees. Other passengers on the place recorded the incident in video that quickly went viral.

The footage sparked public outrage, not only against United but against the airline industry in general for its practice of overbooking seats and its treatment of passengers.

Last week, members of Congress on the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee grilled United CEO Oscar Munoz and other airline leaders about how they planned to improve their customer-service policies after the United incident.

United and Delta Air Lines vowed to offer passengers as much as $10,000 to give up their seat on an overbooked flight, and Southwest Airlines pledged to end the practice of overbooking completely.


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