Huntington Beach couple Brian and Brittany Schear told NBC News they had boarded a flight from Maui to Los Angeles with their 1-year-old and 2-year-old children.
They had originally purchased a seat on the Delta Airlines flight for their teenage son, but they sent him home early so their 2-year-old could have his own seat.
The Schears said they explained the situation to the ticket agent at the gate, and the agent allowed the family to sit together.
But when they got on the plane, the Schears were told their 2-year-old would have to give up his seat for passengers on the standby list.
That’s when Brian Shear said he was threatened with jail if he didn’t give up the seat.
An airline employee was can be heard on video saying, “So this is a federal offense. You and your wife could be in jail and your kids will be in foster care.”
Schear replied, “We’re going to be in jail and my kids are going to be what?”
“It’s a federal offense if you don’t abide by it,” the employee said.
“I bought the seat…” said Schear. “You’re saying you’re going to give that away to someone else when I paid for that seat. That’s not right.”
The employee explained that because the seat was for Schear’s teenage son, the 2-year-old couldn’t sit there.
Another employee said a 2-year-old wasn’t allowed to sit in a seat on their own and needed to be sitting in an adult’s lap.
Schear responded by saying the 2-year-old sat in a car seat on the way to Maui.
Brian said the family was not reimbursed for their trouble.
On Thursday, Delta said in a statement they were “sorry for the unfortunate experience” and had since reached out to the family to compensate them.
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