From KHOU (autoplaying video):
Michael Hohl, the groom, said he and his fiancé, Amber Maxwell, were the last to board the plane.
According to Hohl, they noticed a man was spread across their row napping when they approached their seats, 24 B and C.
Not wanting to wake the man, Hohl said they decided to sit a three rows up in seats 21 B and C. He said they didn’t think it would matter because the flight was half full with multiple empty rows.
21 B and C are exit row seats on United planes and considered Economy Plus because of the extra legroom.
After sitting, Hohl said a flight attendant approached and asked if they were in their ticketed seats. The couple explained they weren’t and asked if they could get an upgrade, but instead they were told they needed to return to their assigned seats.
So then they tried to finagle their way into the seats by asking for the upgrade.
“I think customer service and the airlines has gone real downhill,” said Hohl. “The way United Airlines handled this was really absurd.”
So the couple could have simply asked the flight attendants to ask the man in their row to sit up (which he would have been required to do for takeoff anyway), but they opted to seat themselves in a better seat.
To sum it all up, this is a non-story.