Family Kicked Off Delta Plane,Threatened With Jail Time For Refusing To Give Up Child's Seat

by Sarah Hosseini
Originally Published: 
Image via YouTube/Brian S

“I’ve got two infants, and my wife, we have nowhere to stay, there’s no more flights”

Another day, another outrageous and frustrating airline fiasco. This latest one involves a husband and wife traveling with two toddlers who were kicked off a Delta flight for no good reason. Not only that – they were also threatened with jail time.

Brian and Brittany Schear, of Huntington Beach, were on a red-eye flight April 23 from Maui to Los Angeles with their small children. According to the Washington Post, a verbal argument between Brian and the airline ensued after he was told that they had to give up the seat for their 2-year-old son in a carseat, to another passenger.

In the video posted on YouTube you hear Brian say repeatedly, “I bought the seat.” You also hear him explain to the agents in the video that he initially bought the seat for his 18-year-old son, but decided to send the teen home early on a different flight so their 2-year-old son could have a seat on the plane.

“It’s a red-eye. He won’t sleep unless he’s in his car seat. So, otherwise, he’d be sitting in my wife’s lap, crawling all over the place, and it’s not safe.”

Delta didn’t give a hoot.

An agent told Brian that unless he complied, he would have to leave the plane (which hadn’t taken off yet).

“Then they can remove me off the plane,” he says.

“You and your whole family?” the agent asks.

“Yeah, that’s fine,” he says.

“So, then, it’s going to be a federal offense,” says an agent, and another agent adds, “and you and your wife will be in jail and your kids will be in foster care.”

“We’re going to be in jail and my kids are going to be what?” Brian asks.

“It’s a federal offense if you don’t abide by it,” she says.

“I bought that seat,” Brian says. “You’re saying you’re going to give that away to someone else when I paid for that seat. That’s not right.”

After more back and forth between the man and Delta staff, he is told he doesn’t have the option to even hold the baby in his lap (and give up the seat). He and his family are being booted.

“So we’re getting off this plane no matter what now?” Brian asks.

“I told you guys at the beginning you had two options and now it’s come too far,” an agent says.

“I have two infants,” he said, “and nowhere to stay. There’s no more flights. What are we supposed to do — sleep in the airport?”

“At this point, you guys are on your own,” she says.

“Un-fucking-real,” Brian says.

It’s worth noting as well, that the employees in this video told Brian (erroneously) that it wasn’t safe for his 2-year-old son to be in his own seat (secured in a car seat) and that the child should be in an adult’s lap because “it’s FAA, and he’s two and under.” In fact, the opposite is true. As stated on the FAA website, “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges you to secure your child in a CRS or device for the duration of your flight,” the agency states. “It’s the smart and right thing to do so that everyone in your family arrives safely at your destination. The FAA is giving you the information you need to make informed decisions about your family’s travel plans.”

“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 said in a statement. “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.”

The problem is airlines keep overbooking flights. Then they need seats. And lately it seems that they are willing to go to any length to get those seats. Delta claimed the flight was not overbooked, but if that’s true, why did they need the seat to begin with?

Schear bought the ticket for one son, but ended up using it on another son. Yes, this is against the rules. It doesn’t change the fact that he purchased the seat. And just expecting him to give it up because the flight was overbooked is unreasonable.

The parents were threatened with jail time and foster care for their kids. Let that sink in. The mom in this incident, Brittany, told ABC 7 , “As a mother, you have a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old – it doesn’t matter whether that’s true or false. It put fear in me.”

Understandably so, anyone can see why that would be terrifying. Flying shouldn’t be threatening, at least we all probably can agree with that.

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