Woman says United Airlines employee kicked her in the head for sleeping in Houston airport chapel
A traveler said she was kicked in the head by a United Airlines employee at the Houston airport — the site of several other recent highly publicized incidents involving alleged mistreatment of customers by the embattled carrier.
Lindsey Urbani was flying from San Francisco to Belize for a 10-day vacation when she stopped Saturday at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport for an overnight layover, reported KPRC-TV.
The woman said she decided to sleep in a nondenominational chapel in the United terminal but was violently awoken by an airline employee.
“I was woken up by someone kicking me in the head,” Urbani told the TV station. “I immediately got up and asked the person why he had did that.”
Urbani said the man told her she couldn’t sleep in the chapel, then rolled out a prayer rug and began praying.
She again asked the man why he’d kicked her, and she said the worker told her he didn’t want her to miss her flight.
Urbani was able to take photos of the man before he left the chapel, and she has filed a police report and contacted the airline about the incident.
United said in a statement that the employee had been suspended pending an investigation of the incident, which Urbani said was stressful.
“I have horrible anxiety,” she told the TV station from her vacation. “I’m not sleeping, I feel completely violated. It’s honestly ruined my trip.”
United Airlines has been hammered with one public relations disaster after another since a passenger was violently dragged off a flight from Chicago to Louisville in April.
Many of the recent incidents have taken place at Houston’s Bush Airport, including the release this week of video filmed in 2015 of an airline employee shoving a 71-year-old passenger to the ground.
Last week, a musician said her hand was injured when a United employee tried to wrestle away her antique violin during a baggage dispute in Houston, and a disabled woman suffered arm injuries earlier this month when an airport worker dropped her while helping her board a United flight.
A United flight from Houston to Ecuador was delayed last month after a scorpion was spotted on board.
The airline refused to apologize in April after removing a newlywed couple from a flight from Houston to Costa Rica for changing seats after finding another passenger sleeping in theirs.
Bush Intercontinental Airport, which is a United hub, is the nation’s second-busiest airport, serving 15.5 million passengers last year, about a million fewer than Chicago-O’Hare International Airport.