It feels like we can’t go a week without encountering more damning evidence against airlines and their extremely questionable customer service practices. From shrugging off poop found in a blanket, to literally manhandling their customers, it’s been a pretty rocky year in the airline PR department.
Welp. It looks like this week isn’t going to be any different.
Delta is currently in (increasingly) hot water over allegedly threatening to put a couple’s children into foster care if they did not leave an apparently overbooked flight.
The Schear family, of Huntington Beach, had purchased four seats on a Delta flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles. Two of those seats were for their young children. When Brian Schear was asked by airline employees to hold his two-year-old son in his lap for the flight, Brian refused, saying that he had rightfully paid for the seat.
It was then that Brian recalls an airline employee threatening to take away the kids if the Schears did not comply. “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 recalls to Eyewitness News.
Since this is 2017, the altercation was naturally caught on video, thanks to some quick smartphone maneuvering.
In the clip, you can hear an employee saying “… a federal offense, and then you and your wife will be in jail and your kids will be in foster care.”
“You’re saying you’re gonna give that away to someone else when I paid for that seat? That’s not right,” Brian says.
Brittany Schear told Eyewitness News that the outlandish and unreasonable threat frightened her. “As a mother, you have a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old — it doesn’t matter whether that’s true or false. It put fear in me.”
The employees claimed that the Schears were violating airline regulations by having a child under two years of age sitting in a seat by themselves (even though the Schears had purchased a child travel seat for this very purpose).
The thing is, the airline’s website explicitly encourages parents to purchase separate seats for their children, as long as their child uses a safety seat.
“We want you and your children to have the safest, most comfortable flight possible,” Delta’s website states. “For kids under the age of two, we recommend you purchase a seat on the aircraft and use an approved child safety seat.”
Eventually, Brian was willing to comply and hold Grayson in his lap — but it was too late. The entire family was booted from the flight. The Schears had to spend another $2000 to find a hotel at midnight and book a different flight home the next day.
So … who the hell is in the wrong here? It’s certainly looking like Delta.
The airline released a terse statement to Eyewitness News, apologizing for the family’s experience. “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.”
However, things still seem kind of fishy. As Eyewitness News reports:
The airline also said the family was not kicked off the plane because the flight was overbooked but did not elaborate or offer any other details as to why the family was booted from the flight.
Hmm. Booting a family from a flight without giving a reason? Seems pretty shady, Delta.
It’s unclear how this debacle will be resolved. But once more, for good measure, I’m forced to remind airlines: EVERYONE HAS A SMARTPHONE AND WILL FILM YOU BEING SHITTY. SO, STOP BEING SHITTY.