A family was threatened with jail time and then booted off an oversold Delta flight last week for refusing to give up a seat they paid for in the latest debacle for the airline.
The couple, Brian and Brittany Schear of Huntington Beach, said they were kicked off a Los Angeles-bound Delta flight from Hawaii last month after airline staff insisted their 2-year-old son could not sit by himself, even though the family had already paid for a ticket and had a auto seat for the child.
Shear claims that after he refused, airport staff confronted him and told him that he could either remove his son or would be sent to jail.
Mr Schear told CBS News the incident was very clearly caused by the airline overbooking the plane. As a result, they sent their oldest son on an earlier flight home and brought a auto seat with them for the toddler. It shows a system where slavish adherence to literal rules has destroyed reason and decency, and the result is bad for everyone- the passengers directly involved, Delta, the other passengers on the plane, and probably you and I for even having to watch this.
"It's a federal offence if you don't abide by it", she explains, to which the dad responds, "I bought that seat!"
"You have to give up the seat or you're going to jail, your wife is going to jail and they'll take your kids from you", displaced passenger Brian Schear recalled the airline staff saying, to ABC 7.
Schear is heard in the video trying to explain that after originally buying a seat for his teenage son on the red-eye, he wanted to free it up for his 2-year-old.
Following the United incident, Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) said it would stop overbooking its flights.
In latest airline video, Delta boots family from flight
The entire incident was captured on video, with flight attendants initially asking Mr Schear and his wife to hold the infant on their laps for the duration of their flight.
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.
The FAAsays on its website that it "strongly urges" parents to secure small children in an approved child safety restraint device, or vehicle seat, throughout their flight. But things turned ugly once the family took their seats.
However, the company also states on its website that child safety seats can not be used in some seats, including aisle seats or in emergency exit rows.
"I got two infants and my wife", the concerned father says in the video.
"As a mother, you have a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old - it doesn't matter whether that's true or false", Brittany Schear told KABC-TV.
"We're sorry for what this family experienced", Delta said in an official statement to ABC7. "What are we supposed to do - sleep in the airport?" They were never reimbursed for their original tickets, they said.
Later in the video, the dad offers to just hold the kid as the Delta employee (incorrectly) said was required (5:47 in the video) and leave the seat he paid for vacant, but for some reason Delta decided that the best plan was to kick the family off the plane. It is at this point that another Delta employee said that the FAA states that 2-year-old children are not allowed to have their own seat on flights, but that isn't correct at all.
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