LOS ANGELES -- A California family said they were recently kicked off a Los Angeles-bound Delta Air Lines flight after they were asked to give up a seat they purchased for their 2-year-old son.
Huntington Beach, Calif., resident Brian Schear, who posted a video of the April 23 incident on YouTube on Wednesday, said he was on the flight leaving Maui with his wife and two children, ages 1 and 2, when they were approached by officials and asked to give up a seat he purchased for his older son.
In the eight-minute video, Schear is told that if he does not give up the seat, he will be removed from the plane.
Another person tells Schear that being removed from the flight would be a federal offense and “you and your wife will be in jail.”
Schear said he purchased the extra seat so there would be room for his child’s car seat and so his son could sleep without disturbing other passengers.
An employee then tells Schear he cannot use the car seat.
“With him being 2, he cannot sit in a car seat,” the employee said, adding the child needs to be in an adult's arms the whole time.
The airline’s website, however, recommends purchasing an extra seat for children.
“We want you and your children to have the safest, most comfortable flight possible, for kids under the age of 2, we recommend you purchase a seat on the aircraft and use an approved child safety seat,” the website said.
The entire family was then told to leave the plane.
"From this point on, this plane will not go anywhere until you guys choose to go. … I’m just trying to help you,” an employee tells Schear.
Schear can be heard responding to the employee before leaving the plane.
“Trying to help us would have been not overselling the flight and not trying to force us to get him out of that seat that I paid for,” Schear said.
In his post, Schear said his family left the flight after midnight, and had to go to a hotel and purchase new tickets the next day.
A statement issued by Delta did not explain why the family was asked to give up their seat but said it was not because of overbooking.
“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. I can confirm that this was not because the flight was overbooked,” Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton said.
"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," the airline 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."