A family from Huntington Beach, Calif., says they were kicked off a Delta Air Lines flight after refusing to give up a seat their 2-year-old son was sitting in.
It happened last week on a flight from Maui to Los Angeles.
Brian Schear says he bought the seat for his 18-year-old son, who ended up going home on an earlier flight.
Schear says he and his wife planned to have their two toddlers sit on their laps, but figured since his oldest son wasn’t using his seat, it would be okay for his other son to sit there.
But Delta said when their oldest son didn’t check in, the seat automatically became vacant and could be used for standby passengers.
In a video uploaded to YouTube, Schear told a flight attendant, “I got him a ticket on another seat and you’re saying you’re going to give that seat away to someone else? That’s not right. I bought the seat. You need to do what’s right and just leave us alone.”
Schear says they were eventually forced off the flight, threatened with jail time, and had to spend an extra night on Maui.
Delta released a statement Thursday that said, “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.”
If you closely at the fine print when you pay for your airline tickets, you’ll see switching seats is not allowed.
Delta, along with most major airlines including Hawaiian Airlines, sell non-transferable tickets. That means you cannot give your ticket to someone else. The name on the ticket needs to be the person sitting in the seat.
If you’re not there, the airline has the right to allow someone else to take that seat, and you might be out of the total cost of your ticket. Aside from being non-transferable, most airline tickets are also non-refundable, though in this case, the airline did eventually decide to refund the family.