In latest airline video, Delta boots family from flight

DALLAS (AP) — A California family says they were forced off a Delta plane and threatened with jail after refusing to give up one of their children’s seats on a crowded flight.

A video of the April 23 incident was uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday and adds to the list of recent encounters on airlines that went viral, including the dragging of a passenger off a United Express plane.

Brian and Brittany Schear of Huntington Beach, California, told KABC-TV in Los Angeles that they were returning from Hawaii with their two toddlers when they were removed from the plane.

On the video, Brian Schear can be heard talking with a person off-camera — it is not clear whether that person is a Delta employee, a security officer, or somebody else.

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Schear explains that he wants to put one of the toddlers in a seat originally purchased for his 18-year-old son. Schear says the older child had returned home on an earlier flight.

Delta policy generally prohibits passengers from using a ticket bought in another person’s name. Federal regulations do not bar such a switch as long as the new passenger’s name can be run through a data base, according to a Transportation Security Administration spokesman.

After Schear says that the airline would have to remove him, the person off-camera replies, “You and your wife will be in jail … it’s a federal offense if you don’t abide” by an airline crew’s order.

“I bought that seat,” Schear protests.

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Schear then suggests that his wife could hold the toddler during takeoff and then put the youngster in the car seat. Another person, who appears to be a Delta supervisor, tells him that federal rules require that children under 2 must stay in a parent’s lap throughout the flight.

That is false. The Federal Aviation Administration “strongly urges” that infants be in a car seat, although it permits those under 2 to be held in a parent’s lap. On its website, Delta recommends that parents buy a seat for children under 2 and put them in an approved child-safety seat.

Delta issued a statement Thursday saying, “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 Altanta-based airline did not immediately explain why the family was removed from the flight.

Congress held two hearings this week on airline customer service — a response to the video of Chicago airport security officers dragging a 69-year-old man off a United Express flight to make room for crew members who were traveling for work.

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Executives from United, American, Southwest and Alaska testified at one or both hearings. Delta was notably absent.