A Delta Airlines employee reportedly kicked an entire family off a flight and threatened the father with jail time for refusing to give up a seat the family paid for, according to a video of the encounter.
The airline employee reportedly told Brian Schear that he and his wife would go to jail and his kids would be taken away from him if the family did not give up their seats on the Los Angeles-bound flight from Maui, the New York Post reported.
The family was set to leave Maui on an overnight flight to Los Angeles International Airport when they were told to give up a seat occupied by a car seat for their 2-year-old son.
When they refused, the airline employee threatened Schear and his wife with jail time.
“Then that’s going to be a federal offense and you and your wife will be in jail and your kids,” the female employee can be heard saying in the video.
“We’re going to be in jail? And my kids are going to be in what?” Schear responded.
“It’s a federal offense if you don’t abide by it,” she explains.
Delta employees wanted to give the seat Schear originally purchased for his 18-year-old son, who took an earlier fight home, to a passenger waiting on standby.
But Schear wanted to use that seat for one of his two toddlers, who would be placed in a car seat.
The employee insisted that it is against Federal Aviation Administration regulations to give a seat to a child two years of age or younger.
“He can’t occupy a seat because he’s two years or younger. That’s FAA regulations. This plane will not go anywhere until you guys choose to go. I’m just trying to help you,” she said.
“Trying to help us would’ve been not overselling the flight and not trying to force us to get him out of that seat that I paid for and holding this whole plane up,” Schear answered. “So what are we supposed to do? I’ve got two infants, nowhere to stay, there’s no more flights. What are we supposed to do? Sleep in the airport?”
The father of three and his family eventually left the aircraft to find a hotel room and paid $2,000 for another flight leaving the next day on United, KABC reports.
“We never thought it was going to get to the point where they were actually getting us all off the flight,” Schear told CBS Los Angeles. “As we were leaving the plane, there’s four or five passengers waiting for our seat. The bottom line is, they oversold the flight.”
Delta released a statement in response to the incident saying that they have reached out to the family in question.
“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 airline said in a statement.
They added, however, that the family was not kicked off the flight because it was overbooked, but declined to elaborate further.