Video shows Delta employee threaten family with jail time for not leaving flight
A Huntington Beach, Calif. family is demanding an apology after they were removed from a Delta Airlines flight.
But it’s not just the fact of their removal that has Brian Schear and his wife upset. As captured on cell phone video recorded by his wife Brittany, a Delta employee is seen directly misquoting company policy regarding car seats for their infant son – before threatening the family with jail time.
A Delta employee is heard saying that removing the family “…would be a federal offense, and then you and your wife would be in jail and your kids would be…”
“We’re going to be in jail?” Schear responds incredulously. “So we’re going to be in jail and my kids are going to, what?”
The incident occurred on April 23 aboard a Delta Airlines flight from Maui to Los Angeles. Schear was travelling with his wife, his 18-year-old son, and his two younger children ages 1 and 2. The family decided to buy a ticket on an earlier flight for his 18-year-old so they could use his seat on the later flight for their younger son’s car seat.
As the plane was about to take off, a Delta employee informed Schear that he would have to give up the extra seat because his 18-year-old was no longer using it.
By the time the cellphone video began, airport security had already been called for a tense confrontation with Schear.
“I got [Mason] a ticket on another flight so that my son would have a seat,” Schear explains to a Delta employee. “And you’re saying you’re going to give that away to someone else when I paid for that seat? That’s not right.”
“It’s federal policy sir that the name of the individual is the supposed to be in the seat,” a Delta employee responds.
A short while later, another Delta employee who introduces herself as Jenna says Delta’s problem isn’t with the name on the ticket, but rather the use of a car seat for their infant son.
“With him being two, he cannot sit in a carseat,” Jenna says. “He has to sit here, in your arms, the whole time.”
“He rode on a car seat the whole flight out here, on a Delta flight,” Schear responds.
This is in direct contravention to the policy on Delta’s own website, which encourages parents to bring a car seat for any child two years of age or younger.
“For children under the age of two, we recommend you purchase a seat on the aircraft and use an approved child safety seat,” Delta’s policy reads.
Schear concedes that he and his wife will hold the infant children in their laps, at which point Jenna informs them that they are now going to be removed from the flight.
“So this is where we’re at now at this point: you have the option to have you guys all off the flight, or we’re going to detain the whole aircraft,” Jenna says.
“So we’re getting kicked off now?” Schear responds.
“So what are we supposed to do? I’ve got two infants, nowhere to stay, there’s no more flights. What am I supposed to do? Sleep in the airport?”
After asking about their checked baggage, Schear and his family move to leave the aircraft.
“We never thought it was going to get to the point where they were actually getting us all off the flight,” Schear told CBS News. “As we were leaving the plane, there’s four or five passengers waiting for our seat. The bottom line is, they oversold the flight.”
WATCH: Family threatened with jail for not leaving Delta flight speaks out
Schear told CBS that his family was forced to book a hotel room and buy three more tickets for a return flight the next day – with no reimbursement from Delta.
In a statement to media, Delta Airlines would not confirm the reason the family was removed but said they would reach out to try and address their frustrations.
“We’re sorry for what this family experienced,” the statement reads. “Our team has reached out and will be talking with them to better understand what happened and come to a resolution.”
Global News has reached out to Delta Airlines for further explanation and will update the story if and when their comments are available.
You can watch the entire encounter between the Schear family and Delta Airlines here.
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