Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

California Family says Delta Forced them off Plane, Threatened Jail Time

A California family says they were forced off a Delta plane and threatened with jail after refusing to give up one of their children's seats on a crowded flight.

Schear said he spoke with a ticketing agent who told him that technically, he needed to cancel the ticket, but then said it would be fine for him to use the seat for his infant son so the family got its boarding pass.

The dispute centred on whether Mr Shear was allowed to put his toddler son on a seat he had originally purchased for his 18-year-old son, and whether the younger boy needed to be in a auto seat or sit on the lap of an adult.

One staffer tells Shear in the video that because the child's name is not on the ticket, he can not sit in the seat. Schear said he was asked to give up the seat his younger son was sitting in, even though he paid for the seat. Cell phone video of the incident was posted to Youtube on May 3.

Schear told NBC 4 that he informed airline staff about the situation before the family boarded the plane.

He tells the staff: "You're saying you're gonna give that away to someone else when I paid for that seat?" It's unclear. But the airlines actually advise that you keep your infant in a carseat on a seat while flying, so who can blame the guy for not going along with it. "That's not right", Schear responded.

Eventually, an employee tells them that Federal Aviation Administration rules dictate that a two-year-old can not occupy a auto seat, and needs to sit on an adult's lap.

Shear told KABC that ultimately, he agreed to let his son sit in his lap, but by then it was too late and Delta had Brian, his wife, and his two toddlers removed from the flight.

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"With him being two, he can not sit in the vehicle seat", the airline employee is heard saying.

That is false. The Federal Aviation Administration "strongly urges" that infants be in a auto seat, although it permits those under 2 to be held in a parent's lap.

Delta said they'd offered the family compensation in a statement made after the clip was watched over 2 million times. And honestly, we didn't contact them.

The family was then given the option of getting off the flight, or have the whole flight deplaned.

Delta said in a statement on Thursday afternoon that they "sorry for the unfortunate experience" the family had, and had since reached out to compensate them. Delta went on to state that the company wants to work with patrons to fix travel problems and "that did not happen in this case and we apologize".

Delta apologized for the incident on Thursday, one day after Brian and Brittany Schear posted a video online showing them being told to leave during a dispute over a seat they had bought for their teenage son.

An agent explained that the Schears had to comply with their request, otherwise they would be ejected from the plane and could receive jail time.

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