Delta apologizes after video of family getting kicked off flight over toddler goes viral
It’s a new day, which means a new airline is apologizing for something.
On Thursday, it was Delta’s turn to say sorry after removing a family from one of its flights and threatening them with jail time.
On April 23, Brian and Brittany Schear of Huntington Beach, California were returning from Kahului Airport in Maui, Hawaii after vacationing with their two toddlers and their 18-year-old son, Mason.
Before flying home, the family decided that Mason would fly on an earlier flight so one of their toddlers, Grayson, could take his seat. In accordance with Delta's own recommendations, the family put Grayson in a car seat for the flight. However, after the family sat down and buckled little Grayson in, a flight attendant informed them that they would need to give up the toddler’s seat as the flight was overbooked and his name was not on the ticket.
Brian told ABC7 News that the attendant said, "You have to give up the seat or you're going to jail, your wife is going to jail and they'll take your kids from you.”
In an eight-minute video of the incident, which has garnered more than 3.4 million views, Brian remains calm as attendants and police become increasingly aggravated at the family for their refusal to give up the seat.
Throughout the video, attendants, supervisors, and police provide false information to the family, including one person who appeared to be a Delta supervisor, according to ABC7, who told the Shears that federal rules require that children under 2 must stay in a parent's lap throughout the flight.
"With him being two, he cannot sit in the car seat," the airline employee is heard saying. "He has to sit in your arms the whole time."
But, the Federal Aviation Administration recommends the exact opposite and "strongly urges" that infants be in a car seat for the duration of a flight. Delta’s own recommendations say: "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 end, the family was told to disembark the plane and that the airline carrier had no responsibility to help them find accommodation for the evening. "That is not up to me," a crew member told the Schears. "At this point, you guys are on your own."
The family was forced to book a new flight, which cost them $2,000, Refinery29 reported.
On Thursday, Delta issued a statement and apology to the family: "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."
A spokesman for Delta would not disclose the compensation amount.