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A Family Was Kicked Off A Delta Plane And Threatened With Jail Because They Wanted To Remove A Baby In A Car Seat From An Overbooked Flight

ABC7 – A Southern California family says they were kicked off an overbooked Delta airplane because they refused to yield a seat held by their young son.

The Schear family of Huntington Beach says they were flying from Hawaii to Los Angeles last week when airline staff asked them to give up a seat occupied by their 2-year-old son and carry him on their laps for the duration of the flight.

They tried to refuse and argued with airline staff, but say they were threatened with being sent to jail.

“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,” Brian Schear recalled the airline staff telling him.

The airline staff tells him they need the seat because the flight is overbooked and the original passenger whose name was on the seat isn’t using it. One airline employee tells him that under FAA regulations, 2-year-old children are not supposed to have their own seats at all and are supposed to sit in parents’ laps for the duration of the flight.

Meanwhile, on Delta’s website:

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So that’s an oops. And whether you have kids or not, it’s hard not to feel for the dad here. It seems so miserable for families to have to fly their kids sometimes, either because they hate it or because they simply can’t calm down and then you’re stuck in a confined space with them feeling the hatred of every single other person there with you. It’s a shitty spot. So for airlines to make it deliberately more difficult when they paid for a seat and the airline did its usual godawful practice of selling more seats than there are on the plane is awful all around. And it got worse for the family:

Eventually he agreed to hold his son on his lap for the flight – but it was too late. The airline said the whole family had to leave.

That was around midnight, and the couple and their two toddlers were left having to scramble for a hotel room and pay $2,000 for another flight the next day, on United.

And the worst news, which is probably why so many people were on the side of Dr David Dao versus United, is that the airlines will probably win again, as they always do, despite their overzealous threats and shittily run businesses, because they have a million bylaws that can fuck customers over that you agree to when purchasing. A Redditor points out a common airline policy:

The seat was in their older son’s name, not the baby’s. They bought another ticket last minute for the older son to take an earlier flight so they could use that seat for the baby in the carrier.

Last I checked, the name of the person sitting in the seat has to be the same as the name on the ticket. Most airlines have policies about refusing to change names on tickets, or transfer tickets to other people. The dad seems to think that since he paid for all the tickets, he can switch the names around on the tickets at will.

So basically this family might be fucked because airlines both A) are incapable of using common sense and B) they’re greedy pigs who want to squeeze every last dollar out of the flights and humans that are on board with them. And honestly at this point where we’ve had more and more embarrassing plane incidents of airlines overreaching going viral on video and it seems to me the one common thread is the gate agents and flight attendants have no clue what they’re actually doing. Maybe the training’s not good enough or there’s too many bylaws they kinda half know to try to enforce but there’s something inherently wrong with how they’ve been doing things lately. It’s an overall lack of humanity as passengers get treated closer and closer to cattle on flights each year, but even more than that it seems like they just know they have business policies that are more important and, because they’re encouraged to be mindless drones instead of people capable of common sense, they end up in these confrontational spots that only make people more frustrated.

It ends up sucking for the customers even as the price of flights go up and you end up with spots like this, where cool So Cal Skater Dad can’t get his kid somewhere without being threatened with federal prison because an airline are hogs trying to siphon every last dollar off customers. Can we start getting some fancy Japanese bullet trains over here to give them some kind of competition before we end up paying $1,000 to row ourselves through the air like a Viking slave ship?