Just when looked as if United Airlines had cemented itself as worst airline of the year, a video currently going viral on Facebook has put Delta squarely in the running.
Posted April 23, the video clearly shows Delta employees kicking a family of four off a red-eye flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles for refusing to give up a seat that they had purchased.
ABC's Eyewitness News of Los Angeles reports that the Schear family of Huntington Beach, California were asked by the crew of the plane to give up a seat occupied by their 2-year-old son and his car seat in order to accommodate a standby passenger on the apparently overbooked flight.
During the exchange, an employee tells father Brian Schear that, according to Federal Aviation Authority regulations, his 2-year-old "cannot sit in the car seat . . . He has to sit in your arms the whole time." Not only does this statement contradict all FAA policy, but Delta's own website encourages customers to buy separate seats for young children and to use child-safety restraint systems, car seats included.
The father, Brian Schear, can be seen in a video trying to reason with the staff to no avail. "You're saying you're gonna give that away to someone else when I paid for that seat?" says Schear says to a Delta employee. "That's not right . . . you need to do what's right . . . I bought the seat and you need to just leave us alone."
Later in the video, a crew member tells Schear that his family has indeed been ejected from the plane for failure to comply. "That will be a federal offense and you and your wife will be in jail and your kids will be in foster care."
When Schear asks what will happen to his family, who did not have accommodations for the night or another flight to get on, the representative tersely responds, "at this point, you guys are on your own."
Mother Brittany Schear said the threat, "put fear in me," because she has a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old.
Delta issued an apology in a statement to Eyewitness News:
"We are sorry for the unfortunate experience our customers had with Delta, and we've reached out to them to refund their travel and provide additional compensation. 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."