Traveling with young children is difficult as it is, but as a new video making the rounds on the Internet suggests, some airlines may be making it even worse for parents—with confusing and inconsistently enforced rules and regulations and also, not-so-great customer service.
Posted to YouTube on May 3, a video by user Brian S, aka Brian Schear, shows him being told by Delta employees that he and his family—including his wife and two tiny tots, ages 1 and 2—will have to leave the airplane since they can’t allow either child to occupy a seat he originally purchased for his teenage son. In the caption, Brian explains that Delta asked him to give up that seat to a waiting passenger. According to an unseen Delta employee speaking to dad in the video, if the family doesn’t abide, “it’s going to be a federal offense,” with him and his wife landing in jail.
From the exchange in the video, it seems that the dad purposely booked his teenage son on an earlier flight to leave the seat empty. “On the way out the flight was open. But even then it was difficult to have a lap child so we decided to get him a ticket on an earlier flight, so we can use his seat and put the car seat and let the kid sleep.
It’s a red eye. He won’t sleep unless he’s in his car seat. So otherwise he’d be sitting on my wife’s lap, crawling all over the place and it’s not as safe, so we decided to do it that way and let him use his seat. I paid for this seat. This is what’s ridiculous,” Brian is seen saying to Delta employees.
However, in the video, a Delta employee, introducing herself as Jenna, tells the dad the name of the individual who is assigned the seat should match the individual actually sitting there. “That’s not true, actually,” the dad fires back, “because people move around the plane all the time. I’ve been on many flights where it’s ‘take any seat, it’s wide open.'”
Citing Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the same employee also tells him that a kid under 2 can’t be in a car seat, saying, “He has to sit here in your arms the whole time. Technically, he couldn’t even be on a seat.” Stunned, the dad points out that his family took a Delta flight to get to Maui, and used a car seat without any issues, to which she plainly responds, “That’s unfortunate. Unfortunately, I don’t know what to tell you.”
Getting very upset, the dad tells her, “Then, how did we get up here? And also, how did we get through security with two kids, two car seats, go all the way through your gateway and through to the gate, and then they come down and say you have to go off this plane?”
By the end of the video, Brian and his family were all kicked off the flight. In the video caption, he writes, “They then filled our four seats with four customers that had tickets but no seats. They oversold the flight.
When will this all stop? It was midnight in Maui and we had to get a hotel and purchase new tickets the following day.”
The whole exchange is uncomfortable to watch, because you can really feel for the dad and the frustration, as well as embarrassment, he’s going through, especially since he does make some valid points.
A day after the video was posted, which now has almost 3.5 million views, Delta Air Lines issued a statement apologizing about the incident, saying, “Sorry for the unfortunate experience,” CNBC reports. In the statement, the airline says, “Delta’s goal is to always work with customers in an attempt to find solutions to their travel issues. That did not happen in this case and we apologize.” The statement also reveals that the airline reached out to the couple to offer refunds and provide extra compensation.