Delta Airlines is the latest airline to raise controversy after removing the Schear family of Huntington Beach, California, from flight 2222 from Maui to LAX on April 23. Brian Schear was filmed in his confrontation with a Delta flight attendant by his wife, Brittany Schear.
The ordeal began when the airline asked the Schear family to give up a seat they had purchased for their 2-year-old and carry him on their laps for the flight instead. After arguing with the airline, they were threatened with jail.
“You’re saying you’re gonna give that away to someone else when I paid for that seat? That’s not right,” Brian says to the airline employee in the above video.
Schear originally bought the seat for his 18-year-old son Mason but sent him home on an earlier flight so that he could use the seat for his 2-year-old, Grayson. The airline’s argument is that since the flight is overbooked and the passenger on the original ticket for the seat isn’t using it, that Brian must give it up. Most airlines have policies against name changes on tickets. You can view Delta’s “Name Correction Policy” here.
Another airline employee tells the family that under FAA regulations, 2-year-old children are not allowed to have their own seat.
However, according to the FAA, they encourage parents to buy their own seats for young children and to use a hard-backed child safety seat. The Delta website echoes this sentiment with, “We want you and your children to have the safest, most comfortable flight possible. For kids under the age of two, we recommend you purchase a seat on the aircraft and use an approved child safety seat.”
In the video, Brian says this is exactly why he sent his older son on an earlier flight: so that his younger children would be safe in a car seat because on the flight to Hawaii, he felt that his infant son wasn’t safe in a lap.
After being threatened with jail by the airline employees, the couple decides to voluntarily leave the flight. According to ABC 7 Los Angeles, “That was around midnight, and the couple and their two toddlers were left having to scramble for a hotel room and pay $2,000 for another flight the next day, on United.”
Delta has since released a statement about the incident to New York’s ABC 7, which reads, “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.”
The incident occurred when the airline industry has already been under intense scrutiny. Last month, a video of an Asian doctor named David Dao being violently removed from a United plane from Chicago to Louisville before takeoff at O’Hare International Airport went viral. Dao has since settled out-of-court with United.