Carmen Maria Montiel is a Houston journalist and former beauty queen who says she has sympathy for Dr. David Dao, the passenger on a united airlines flight out of Chicago who was forcibly removed from the plane. It turns out the former Miss Venezuela had a similar experience and she’s suing the airline over it. Montiel told the New York Post that she can only imagine how Dr. Dao felt, as she will forever be terrorized by what happened to her on that fateful flight.

Former Miss Venezuela requested a pillow

Reportedly Montiel requested a pillow on a United Airlines flight from Houston to Bogota, Colombia back in June 2013.

She was reportedly sitting in first class with her husband, Alex Lechin, and their 14-year-old daughter. She was apparently going through a bitter divorce from Lechin at the time, so relations weren’t particularly happy between the two of them.

According to the Daily Mail, it was a red-eye flight, so everyone was tired. Montiel asked Samuel Oliver, the flight attendant on the plane, for a pillow. However, Oliver told her the airline no longer provides pillows. Seated as she was in first class, Montiel reportedly complained about the service (or lack of it). Giving up on a pillow, Montiel then reportedly folded up some blankets instead, laying her head on her husband’s shoulder and trying to sleep.

However, at that moment Lechin reportedly “slapped her” and pushed the call button to summon the flight attendant, telling Oliver that his wife was “invading his space” and “bothering him.”

Montiel handcuffed and manhandled on the United Airlines plane

The flight attendant then reportedly presented Montiel with an incident report, saying it was a warning and that she must sign it, but she refused.

She then decided to change seats to get away from her husband, as he had said she was also upsetting their daughter. Oliver then demanded that Montiel moves into the coach section of the United plane, but she refused to move. Reportedly the flight attendant then went into a huddle with her husband. Shortly afterward two large, heavyset men reportedly handcuffed Montiel with zipping ties.

They then took hold of her by the shoulders and manhandled her to the rear of the plane where she was seated next to an off-duty Houston police officer.

Former beauty queen felt powerless

Montiel recalled that she never felt so powerless in her life and said that despite rumors she was drunk, she had only drunk a glass and a half of wine on the flight. Rumors also went around saying she had assaulted the flight attendant, who reportedly said he felt "intimidated" by Montiel, but she denies that.

According to the report by the Post, two months after the incident, Montiel was charged in federal court for interfering with the flight attendant on the plane.

However, during the trial, which ran for three days, the captain on the United Airways flight testified that her arrest and removal were not authorized by him, leading the jury to find the former beauty queen not guilty.

United Airlines treats customers like ‘the enemy’

According to Montiel, the way she was treated is the culture of United Airlines, adding they treat customers like they are “the enemy.” After Dr. Dao’s experience hit the media worldwide, she says there is “something terribly wrong” with the airline. When the video of that incident first went viral online, her three children reportedly texted Montiel, telling her to look, as this happened to her too. Montiel’s suit against the airline has reportedly been filed in the Houston district court.

She is seeking unspecified damages from United Airlines for mental anguish and defamation.

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