Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said she believes the accusations that United Airlines gave her another passenger's first-class seat were driven by racial discrimination.
The congresswoman released a statement on Twitter Tuesday after Jean-Marie Simon, 63, accused United of giving her pre-booked seat to Jackson Lee on a flight from Houston to Washington earlier this month.
"Since this was not any fault of mine, the way the individual continued to act appeared to be, upon reflection, because I was an African American woman," Jackson Lee said in her statement. "Seemingly an easy target along with the African American flight attendant who was very, very nice."
Jackson Lee said she was disappointed that she had to respond to the incident at all, but she believes "transparency" is important. The congresswoman said she arrived at the airport and boarded her flight and said she asked for "nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary and received nothing."
The Democratic lawmaker said she came to understand that the woman had canceled the flight on her own and that the airline is working to attend to her concerns.
"But as an African American, I know there are too many examples like this all over the nation," Jackson Lee wrote. "I hope one day, we will accept our collective diversity. Happy Holidays."
Simon told the Houston Chronicle the congresswoman was accusing her of racism and said she had no idea who was given her pre-booked seat when she originally complained at the gate.
United Airlines also said in a statement that Simon's seat was given up after she cancelled her trip through the United application. Simon vehemently denies cancelling her flight.
United came under fire earlier this year when a video went viral of a passenger being forcibly dragged off one of their planes after he refused to give up his seat.