Delta Airlines staff misquoted rules and regulations governing overbooked flights as they removed a family with two children from one of its services, according to video that has been posted online.
Brian and Brittany Schaer were on board a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles with their two young children when Delta staff told them they had to get off the flight for refusing to give up a seat that was occupied by their two-year-old son Grayson.
The family had booked four tickets on the plane. However, one was in the name of a teenage family member who they sent on an earlier flight so that toddler Grayson could occupy the space using his car seat.
In a video of the family’s standoff with staff, a Delta official can be heard telling the family that they need the seat because the flight is overbooked and the original passenger isn’t using it.
One airline employee tells Brian that, under regulations set down by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Grayson can’t sit in the seat because of his young age. The employee claims that two-year-old children are not supposed to have their own seats and must sit in their parents’ laps for the duration of the flight.
“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges you to secure your child in a CRS (child safety restraint system) or device for the duration of your flight. It’s the smart and right thing to do so that everyone in your family arrives safely at your destination,” the FAA says.
The agency describes a CRS as “a hard-backed child safety seat that is approved by the government for use in both motor vehicles and aircraft.”
Meanwhile, Delta’s guidelines state: “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 video, recorded by Brittany, the family offers to hold the child during take-off before putting him back into the car seat for the rest of the flight. Staff refuse the proposal. The family are then told that they have two options: they can get off the flight or every passenger on the aircraft would have to depart.
Brian asks: “So we’re getting kicked off this plane no matter what now?
When the employee says yes, Brian asks: “So what am I supposed to do? I have two infants and my wife, there’s nowhere to stay, there’s no more flights, what are we supposed to do, just sleep in the airport?”
“You should have thought of that at the beginning,” the staff member says.
Brian then repeats: “What are we supposed to do once we’re off the plane?”
“That’s not up to me, at this point you guys are on your own,” the Delta employee responds.
Brittany posted the video to Facebook Wednesday along with the message: “This is what Delta did to us last week. Airlines don’t give a crap about their customers.”
She continues: “Mid night [sic] kicked us off the flight with 2 babies because we wouldn’t let them take our sons seat away because they over booked [sic] the flight. They wanted us to remove our 1 year old so they could give the seat to someone else. Even though we paid for that seat.”
Brittany went on to say that the family did not receive a refund from Delta and had to purchase new tickets on a flight the next day.
RT has contacted Delta regarding the incident.
The airline issued a statement to CBS, saying: “We are sorry for what this family experienced. Our team has reached out, and we will be talking with them to better understand what happened and come to a resolution.”
The video footage emerges in the wake of an infamous incident last month when David Dao, a Kentucky doctor, was dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight. Dao suffered a concussion, broken nose and lost two teeth in the incident. He later reached an undisclosed settlement with the airline.
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