Photo Credit: Hanson Lu
Family Kicked Off Delta Flight, Threatened With Jail Time For Refusing To Give Up Toddler's Seat
A family was booted from a Delta flight after refusing to give up their 2-year-old son’s seat. According to The Wrap, the Schear family’s flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles was overbooked when an airline employee asked them to have their 2-year-old son sit on their lap for the flight instead of in the seat he was occupying in his car seat.
The Schears declined, saying that they had paid for the seat for their child. A Delta agent then threatened to remove them from the plane and said they would face fail time for a federal offense.
In a now-deleted video that had been recorded and posted online, Brian Schear told Delta agents, “I bought the seat…it’s a red-eye. He won’t sleep unless he’s in his car seat. So, otherwise, he’d be sitting in my wife’s lap, crawling all over the place, and it’s not safe.”
When informed that he and his family would have to get off of the plane unless they complied with the demands, Schear said “Then they can remove me off the plane.”
One of the agents replied, “So, then, it’s going to be a federal offense…and you and your wife will be in jail…it’s a federal offense if you don’t abide by it.”
“I bought that seat,” Schear reminded the airline agents. “You’re saying you’re going to give that away to someone else when I paid for that seat. That’s not right.”
Eventually, Schear agreed to remove his son from the seat and hold the child on his lap for the duration of the flight. However, it was too late. The family had already been told they had to get off of the plane. They were left with no choice but to book another flight for the following day, which cost them $2,000, as well as pay for a hotel room for the night.
One airline agent told Schear that 2-year-old children are not supposed to have their own seats, according to FAA guidelines. But Schear replied that the boy flew to Hawaii from California in his own seat, inside of his car seat.
Both Delta‘s and the FAA’s websites recommend that parents purchase a separate seat for their child and secure them using a car seat or other safety restraint system.
Delta’s website states, “We want you and your children to have the safest, most comfortable flight possible. For kids under the age of two, we recommend you purchase a seat on the aircraft and use an approved child safety seat.”
In a statement to The Wrap, a Delta representative said, “We are sorry for the unfortunate experience our customers had with Delta, and we’ve reached out to them to refund their travel and provide additional compensation. Delta’s goal is to always work with customers in an attempt to find solutions to their travel issues. That did not happen in this case and we apologize.”