- - Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Rep. Sheila Jackson apparently got a free upgrade to first class on a recent United Airlines flight (“United apologizes to passenger who says U.S. Rep. got her seat,” Web, Dec. 25). To make matters worse, in order to make this happen United bumped a passenger who had already reserved the seat.

I have never been offered a free upgrade to first class on a plane, even when I asked and there were empty seats in first class. I was told I would have to pay several hundred dollars if I wanted to upgrade.

It is obvious to everyone that the airline upgraded Ms. Jackson once it knew her identity. Ms. Jackson made sure they knew who she was and what would happen as a result of her upgrade. The House Ethics Committee needs to investigate this and sanction Ms. Jackson if she knew she was being upgraded for free because of her position in Congress.

The committee ought to look into how often this has happened in the past — with all members of Congress. I am sure it’s a perk all members of Congress have been getting for decades. Unfortunately I’m also sure nothing will change.

Members of Congress need to experience “sardine class” like everyone else in coach. Maybe then they will pass a law requiring airline seats to meet the standards they had in the mid-1970s regarding size, padding, leg room and reclining. Until that is done no member of Congress should be upgraded to first class without paying the full rate out of their own pockets. The only way they should ever be upgraded for free is if it is the result of a random lottery of all the passengers on a flight.


Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Navy (retired)


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