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Couple on way to their own wedding kicked off United Airlines flight for switching seats on a half-empty plane

An engaged couple en route to Costa Rica to get married were thrown off a United Airlines flight because they moved to unassigned coach class seats after finding a passenger asleep in their seats.

According to Fox News, Michael Hohl and his fiancé, Amber Maxwell, were on their way to Costa Rica from Salt Lake City to get married, and had a layover in Houston. They were the last to board the flight before it was scheduled to take off, and a found a man asleep on their economy seats. As the plane was reportedly half-empty, they chose to sit in a seats a few rows ahead rather than wake the sleeping passenger.

Hohl told KHOU-TV that he didn’t think it would be an issue to move a few rows up in economy class, because he says there was plenty of empty seats.

“We thought not a big deal, it’s not like we are trying to jump up into a first-class seat,” Hohl told the station. “We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat.”

But apparently the seats they chose were economy-plus seats, and a higher price point than they seats they paid for.

A flight attendant reportedly told the couple they had to returned to their assigned seats.

Hohl said the couple complied, after asking for and being declined an upgrade, but the couple’s version of events differs somewhat from the airline’s.

Hohl said an Air Marshall approached them after they had returned to their original seats and asked them to leave the plane, but a United spokesperson said the couple had been uncooperative.

“These passengers repeatedly attempted to sit in upgraded seating which they did not purchase and they would not follow crew instructions to return to their assigned seats,” the airline told Fox News.

The couple conmplied with the request to be removed from the plane — aware of what happened to a passenger who refused just a week before — but Hohl said they will never fly United again.

“I think customer service and the airlines has gone real downhill,” Hohl said. “The way United Airlines handled this was really absurd.”

 The incident follows a series of public relations challenges for the airline in recent weeks. Last week, a passenger was dragged bloodied and screaming from his seat after refusing to exit the overbooked flight in order to accommodate United staff. Earlier this month, United refused to let two young women fly because they were wearing leggings. Also last week, a scorpion made its way on to a flight and fell on a passenger’s head as he opened an overhead bin.