A California couple were told they’d be sent to jail if they did not give up their two-year-old son’s seat on a Delta flight, they have claimed.
Brian and Brittany Schear allege they were also told their children would be taken from them, and have now demanded an apology.
It is the latest controversy around overbooked flights in the US.
Mr Schear claims a member of airline staff told him: ‘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.’
They were due to travel from Hawaii to Los Angeles last week when they were told to relinquish the seat of young son Grayson.
Mrs Schear told ABC: ‘As a mother, you have a one-year-old and a two-year-old – it doesn’t matter whether that’s true or false. It put fear in me.’
They were told Grayson – who had a car seat on top of his seat – would have to sit on one of his parents’ knees.
After a long debate they agreed to this, but say they were then told to get off the plane.
They did not get a refund, Mr Schear said, and were forced to book a hotel room that night before buying three more plane tickets the following day.
They filmed the encounter with airport staff and posted it on YouTube. Mr Schear is heard asking a staff member: ‘I’m going to be in jail?’
Mr Schear can be heard stating: ‘Well, you should have thought of (that) before you oversold the flight. I bought that seat.’
He told CBS2: ‘We never thought it was going to get to the point where they were actually getting us all off the flight. As we were leaving the plane, there’s four or five passengers waiting for our seat. The bottom line is, they oversold the flight.’
The couple were flying alongside their young son and one-year-old daughter.
Initially the two youngest children were going to sit on their parents’ laps, but when their teenage son opted to travel on another flight – having had a seat booked – they seated Grayson in his seat instead.
In a statement to CBS, the airline said: ‘We are sorry for what this family experienced. Our team has reached out, and we will be talking with them to better understand what happened and come to a resolution.’