Shirley Yamauchi and her son were on the final leg of an 18-hour journey from Hawaii to Boston when a United Airlines stewardess told her the toddler’s seat had been given to a standby passenger.
Ms Yamuachi had purchased two tickets three months in advance. She paid $1000 per ticket.
“I told him that I bought both of these tickets and he tells me that he got the ticket on standby. Then he proceeds to sit in the centre,” Ms Yamauchi told Hawaii News Now.
“What happened to my son was unsafe, uncomfortable and unfair.
“I had to move my son onto my lap. He’s 25 pounds [11.3 kilograms]. He’s half my height. I was very uncomfortable. My hand, my left arm was smashed up against the wall. I lost feeling in my legs and left arm.”
Ms Yamuachi expressed her frustrations of the incident on Facebook, calling out the United Airlines employee who reportedly shrugged off her complaints.
The man who was given her son’s seat paid just $75.