SANTA ANA, Calif. (CBS News) — Add it to the list of recent airline fiascoes caught on tape.
CBS Los Angeles reports a family in Southern California is demanding an apology from Delta Airlines for being kicked off of an overbooked flight. The family says authorities threatened them with jail time if they refused to get off of the LAX-bound flight in April.
Cellphone video captured the moment when authorities asked Brian Schear, his wife, and young son and daughter to deplane. The father is heard on tape saying, “Well, you should have thought of that before you oversold the flight. I bought that seat.” An employee then appears to tell Schear that if he doesn’t comply, his entire family would find themselves in jail.
On video, Schear asks the employee, “So, what are we supposed to do? I’ve got two infants, nowhere to stay, there’s no more flights. What am I supposed to do? Sleep in the airport?”
According to Schear, his family purchased four tickets to return home after vacationing in Maui, Hawaii. But at the last minute, their teenager took an earlier flight home, leaving an empty seat on their flight. The couple initially planned to have their young children sit on their laps, but when plans changed, they assumed they could use the open seat to put one of the toddlers in a car seat.
Schear and his family were buckled up and ready for takeoff when the airline said they would have to give up their son’s seat. When Schear refused, authorities told him the entire family would have to go.
Schear said the airline told him that because his oldest son wasn’t using the ticket, they needed to give the open seat to another passenger.
“We never thought it was going to get to the point where they were actually getting us all off the flight,” he told CBS Los Angeles. “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 family subsequently lost their seats, did not receive a refund and had to book a hotel room. They were forced to buy three more plane tickets the following day.
The airline released a written statement in response to the incident that reads in part: “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.”
Schear says he doesn’t want any money back – he just wants an apology from Delta.