A Delta airlines employee recently threatened Brian and Brittany Schear with jail if they did not give up their paid seat that their toddler was sitting in and hold the boy during a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles.
In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, Brittany alleged that Delta kicked the couple off a midnight flight. In Brittany's recounting, she and Brian were traveling with their two children, aged 1 and 2. A Delta employee wanted to give the 1-year-old's seat to another customer.
After Brian refused Delta's request, a flight attendant allegedly told him: "That's going to be a federal offense, and then you and your wife will be in jail."
Brian originally bought the seat for his other son, Mason, who went on an earlier flight, so that his toddler, Grayson, could sit in a car seat on the airplane seat.
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"Basically what it comes down to is it's not Delta, it's FAA because he's two and under," a Delta employee stated.
"With him being two, he cannot sit in the car seat," the Delta employee added. "He has to sit here in your arms the whole time. Like technically, he couldn't even be on the seat."
Brian told the Delta employee that his son flew out to Hawaii in a car seat, and the employee called that "unfortunate."
However, the employee contradicted Delta's own policy on its website:
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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...
An accompanying adult must sit next to the child. More than one child restraint system (car seat) may be in use in the same row and section of seats.
The FAA website advises not to hold an infant during the flight as the Delta employee advocated:
Did you know that the safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap? Your arms aren't capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges you to secure your child in a CRS or device for the duration of your flight. It's the smart and right thing to do so that everyone in your family arrives safely at your destination.
Eventually Brian agreed to hold his son for the flight, but that answer did not come soon enough for Delta, and the airline giant kicked the family off the flight, notes KABC.
The Schears ended up paying for another hotel room for the night, and a new flight on United for $2,000.
After the Schears posted about the incident online and it went viral, Delta contacted them and released a statement to the media: "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."
Delta insisted the Schears were not kicked off the flight because it was overbooked; however, the Delta employee confirmed that another passenger was going to sit in the toddler's seat.