Update: Delta has put out a statement apologizing and saying that they have refunded the Schear’s travel costs and provided them with additional compensation.
Unfortunately there is no word on the fate of their agents who threatened to jail them and have their kids put in foster care, or who blatantly lied about FAA infant and carseat policy. It would have been nice to see Delta clarify the correct carseat policy as well.
United: "We threw a doctor off our plane!"
Delta glances around, spies baby….
Delta: "Hold my beer…"#DeltaAirlines
— Ian hauer (@Ianhauer88) May 4, 2017
Another day, another crazy airline incident caught on tape:
Brian Schear’s story is hard to piece together, but between the video and various news reports here is my understanding of what happened:
Brian Schear was flying with his family of 5, including an 18 year old, a 2 year old, and a 1 year old, from LA to Maui with 4 tickets and a lap child. There was an empty seat to Maui, so they were able to use their carseat.
They likely saw that the return flight, Delta 2222 from Maui to LA on 4/23 was sold out, so they booked their 18 year old a ticket on another airline from Maui to LA, so that their 2 and 1 year old kids would have their own seat and be able to sleep in a carseat on the redeye. Clearly Brian was counting on being able to use his 18 year old’s seat for his 1 year old.
If Brian had asked DDF for advice he would have been told to just use the 18 year old’s boarding pass for his 1 year old and not to raise attention to that.
I book my kids as adults all the time as many websites have issues with bookings for kids. After 100+ flights with my kids nobody has ever said a word about them being born in 1911 and 1913…
Children under 18 do not need to have any form of ID if they have a ticket, so Brian could have easily just used the ticket for his 1 year old. Is it ethical? Some would argue that the airlines are unethical for selling a seat that can’t be transferred and will cost hundreds of dollars to make a change that costs them nothing. Does that make it right? No, but that still would have been the advice given if he wanted to use his 18 year old’s ticket for his 1 year old.
Unfortunately Brian didn’t ask for advice and he told the gate agent that they had a ticket for their 18 year old but that they wanted to use it for their 1 year old. That puts the gate agent in a hard spot. Had he not said that they would have boarded and nothing would have happened, they would have had 4 seats. But once he said that the gate agent couldn’t scan a ticket for someone who wasn’t boarding.
For some reason though, the gate agent allowed them to board the flight with 2 carseats. Considering the flight was oversold I’m not sure how that happened. Perhaps the agent tagged one carseat to be gate checked and Brian brought it onto the plane anyway? However it seems that Brian thought he was going to be able to use all 4 seats that he had paid for, so clearly there was miscommunication at boarding and that’s likely Delta’s fault.
The flight was oversold and Delta wanted to give the seat that Brian had purchased for his 18 year old to another paying passenger. Brian protests that he paid for the seat, but Delta is correct here. Because his 18 year old was not on the flight, he does forfeit that seat.
Then things go off the rails. The situation continues to escalate and Delta wants them off the plane.
A Delta flight attendant goes over to Brian and tells him that if he refuses to leave the plane “Then that’s going to be a federal offense and you and your wife will be in jail and your kids will be put in foster care.”
That is a horrendous thing to say to a customer and will probably be grounds for termination. I would have hoped that the Dr. Dao incident would make flight attendants think twice before saying things like that.
Then at 2:30 into the video Delta employee Jenna shows up and starts spewing the most ridiculous lies.
Airline employees love blaming the FAA for their issues. I’ve encountered that myself and have stood my ground and made them pull out the manual to prove them wrong. Sometimes I’ve even had to ask for the captain of the plane to intervene.
Jenna says, “It’s not a Delta rule, it’s an FAA rule, because he’s 2 and under…he can’t sit in a carseat. That’s the purpose of infant in arms. He has to sit in your arms the whole time. Technically he couldn’t even be on a seat…And he can’t be in a carseat because he’s an infant in arms…He can’t be in a seat at all because he’s 2 years and younger and that’s FAA regulations.”
Brian rightfully protests that he flew to Maui with his kids in a carseat while Jenna says it’s unfortunate that they violated FAA regulations. She is arrogant and condescending and goes down a power-tripping rabbit hole full of lies and fake sympathy. She continues to make up rules that are totally contrary to FAA policy and saying how she wishes they were not like that. Except they’re not like that. Not at all.
FAA regulations say that any child of any size can be in a carseat, so Jenna was dead wrong about that. If you buy a seat, you can put any aged child in it.
FAA regulations also say that only children under the age of 2 can be a lap child. A 2 year old is not allowed to be held by a parent during takeoff or landing, exactly the opposite of what Jenna claimed. A 2 year old must be in a carseat or airplane seat.
Brian correctly argues that it’s safer for the baby to fly in a carseat and that the baby will sleep and not bother other passengers in a carseat. Which is all true, but a shame he didn’t buy a ticket for the 1 year old in the first place as I strongly recommend that everyone ought to.
At some point Brian agrees to hold his 1 year old for the whole flight, but by then it’s too late. Delta insists they leave the plane. They are forced to find a place to spend the night and spend $2,000 on tickets from another airline the next day.
My opinion is that Delta snatched defeat from the jaws of victory here.
Brian was in the wrong. Once he admitted that his 18 year old was not there, the gate agent should have tagged one carseat to go under the plane and Brian should have been told the only way he was going to fly is if they hold their 1 year old as a lap child.
1. The Delta gate agent messed up by allowing them to board with 2 carseats and not informing him that he had forfeited the 18 year old’s seat.
2. The Delta flight attendant’s foster care threat was beyond the pale.
3. Delta’s Jenna needs to learn actual FAA regulations and not spew totally made up lies which were not even relevant to why they had to give up the extra seat.
The power trip that some of Delta’s agents were on led them to say the most ridiculous things and makes the incident look so much worse for Delta.
I guess we’ll see what airline craziness next week brings…perhaps it’s time to start flying with body cameras until the FAA decides to require airlines to install surveillance cameras on all planes?