LOS ANGELES – An Orange County family says they were recently kicked off a Los Angeles bound Delta Air Lines flight after they were asked to give up a seat their young child was using.
Huntington Beach resident Brian Schear, who posted video of the April 23 incident on YouTube Wednesday, said he was on the flight leaving Maui with his wife and two children, ages 1 and 2, when they were approached by officials and asked to give up a seat he purchased for his older son — who was not on the flight — but was using for his younger son.
In the eight-minute video, Schear is told that if he does not give up the seat he will be removed from the plane.
Another person tells Schear that not giving up his seat and being removed from the flight would be a federal offense and “you and your wife will be in jail.”
Schear explains that he sent his older son home on an earlier flight so the toddler — who was in a car seat — could sleep in the seat without disturbing other passengers.
An employee then tells Schear he cannot use the car seat. “With him being two he cannot sit in a car seat,” the employee says, adding that the child needs to be in the arms of an adult the whole time.
The airline’s website however recommends purchasing an extra seat for children.
“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,” the website states.
The entire family was eventually told to leave the plane.
“From this point on this plane will not go anywhere until you guys choose to go … I’m just trying to help you,” an employee tells Schear.
Schear can be heard responding to the employee before leaving the plane.
“Trying to help us would have been not overselling the flight and not trying to force us to get him out of that seat that I paid for,” Schear says.
In his post, Schear said his family left the flight after midnight and had to go to a hotel and purchase new tickets the next day.
A statement issued by Delta 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.”
“We’re sorry for what this family experienced. Our team has reached out and will be talking with them to better understand what happened and come to a resolution. I can confirm that this was not because the flight was overbooked,” Delta Spokeswoman Betsy Talton said.