A California father and his family were kicked off a Delta flight after declining to give up a seat being used by their two-year-old that was initially meant for their teenage son. The incident, which occurred on an April 23 red-eye flight from Maui in Hawaii to Los Angeles, was captured on video and went viral, especially in the context of other airline mishaps in the past month.
In the video, Brian Schear is seen explaining to agents that he initially purchased a ticket for the seat for his teenage son, but that the teen went home on an earlier flight. As a result, Schear wanted to use the open seat for his toddler, who according to him needed to sleep and would be unable to do so in his wife’s arms. The agent was not satisfied and ordered Schear off the plane, with his family.
However, the video was particularly damning for a second agent, who tried to intimidate Schear by saying this was a federal offense that would cause he and his wife to go to jail. Furthermore, an unidentified agent told Schear that Federal Aviation Administration regulations required that the toddler needed to sit in the adult’s lap and was not allowed to occupy a car seat. Later, fact checkers would point to the FAA recommending children be secured in a car seat and even Delta urging parents to use such child restraints.
Later, Delta clarified that the main issue was that “all tickets are nontransferable per the fare rules. Name changes are not permitted.” However, agents were unclear when making Schear leave the plane in the middle of the night. Delta said in its statement, “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.”