A family being kicked off a Delta flight from Maui to LAX is the latest in a string of videos going viral.
Brian Schear, a father of three, posted video on YouTube showing his encounter with a Delta Airlines employee on April 23. Schear, his wife and two children, ages 1 and 2, were on Fight 2222, a redeye. Schear said he was asked to give up the seat his younger son was sitting in, even though he paid for the seat.
"I paid for the seat. I bought the seat," Schear said in the video.
In the video, Schear explained to staff that he bought another ticket to put his teenaged son Mason on an earlier flight so he could use that seat for one of his infants.
"We decided to get him a ticket on an earlier flight so we could use his seat and put a car seat to let the kid sleep because it's a redeye," Schear can be heard saying in the video. "He won't sleep unless he's in his car seat."
But a woman can be heard saying off camera that a child under 2 years old can't be in a car seat on a flight.
"He has to sit here in your arms the whole time," the woman tells Schear. "Technically, he couldn't even be on a seat."
But on Delta's website, the airline recommends parents "purchase a seat on the aircraft and use an approved child safety seat." The FAA's website also states that the "safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restraint system," especially if parents aren't capable of securing the child in their arms.
However, the Delta employee warned that if they didn't leave, "This is a federal offense, then you and your wife will be in jail."
In the end, Schear and his family left the plane. He said once they exited the plane, their seats were filled with four other customers who had purchased tickets, but had no seats. Schear speculated that the airline may have been trying to open up the seat to a possible stand-by passenger. But employees also told him that because the seat was in his son Mason's name, the seat couldn't be given to the infant. Delta does have a policy on its website that all tickets are non-transferrable per fare rules.
11Alive reached out Delta Airlines, who issued a statement saying: "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."
This incident is the latest in several shocking moments between passengers and airport staff grabbing headlines. Starting it all off was a confrontation between United Airlines staff who dragged off a passenger who refused to give up his seat on a flight that was overbooked. Days later, a passenger on an American Airlines was brought to tears after she and a flight attendant got into an argument over a stroller. Then just last week, video posted to TMZ showed a Delta pilot was caught on video hitting a passenger in the face while trying to break up a fight.
The incidents have spurred a discussion about creating a bill of rights to protect passengers from bumping, change fees and smaller seating space.
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