Airline Tells Parents They'll Be 'Put In Jail' & The Kids 'Put In Foster Care' If They Don't Take Their Toddler Out Of The Seat They Paid For

"We never thought it was going to get to the point where they were actually getting us all off the flight."

outside of plane, parents posing with daughter Prostock-studio / Shutterstock, travellinglight from Getty Images via Canva Pro

A family was reprimanded by an airline because of how they had their toddler sitting while on their flight.

Brian and Brittany Schear from Huntington Beach, California were forced off their Delta flight and threatened with jail time and the removal of their children from their custody after refusing to give up their seats on an overbooked flight.

Brian and Brittany Schear were told they would be 'put in jail' if they didn't take their toddler out of the seat they paid for.

The Schear family had been traveling back home from Kahului Airport in Maui, Hawaii with their two toddlers in April 2017 when they had a horrible experience aboard their Delta flight.


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Brian told NBC News that he and his wife had initially purchased a ticket for their 18-year-old son on the red-eye flight, but decided to send him home early so that their 2-year-old could have a seat on the plane. Before boarding their flight, Brian made sure to explain the situation to the ticket agent.


The family proceeded to board their flight with no issue, but once on the plane, Brian was told by a Delta employee that the 2-year-old had to give up his seat for the other passengers on the standby list. When they refused, Brian and Brittany were threatened with jail time.

The entire incident was captured by Brittany, who filmed the Delta workers telling Brian that if he and his family did not comply, they would all be kicked off the plane. In the video, Brian can be heard telling the airline employee, who is off-camera, that they can "remove me from the plane."



"So this is a federal offense. You and your wife could be in jail and your kids will be in foster care," the airline employee can be heard telling the family. “We’re going to be in jail and my kids are going to be what?” Brian responded.


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The airline worker confirmed their earlier statement, claiming that if the family didn't follow the rules, there would be serious repercussions.

At that point, Brian offered another solution. He suggested that his wife could hold one of the toddlers during takeoff and then put their 1-year-old in the car seat, but was told that federal rules require children under 2 to stay in a parent's lap throughout the flight.

Photo: Bricolage / Shutterstock


However, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, they strongly advise that infants be in car seats on flights, and not in a parents' lap.

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The family was kicked off their flight and not given a refund for their tickets.

Brian told CBS News Los Angeles that he and his family were told to leave the plane if they refused to cooperate, and weren't even given a reimbursement.

When Brian inquired what they were supposed to do once they were off the flight, the Delta crew member wasn't any help. "That's not up to me," they responded, before later adding, "At this point, you guys are on your own."


"We never thought it was going to get to the point where they were actually getting us all off the flight," Brian 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."

While speaking with NBC News, Brittany expressed feeling most frustrated with the airline employee threatening her and her husband with jail time and their children being put in foster care.

"I'm not a confrontational person... and when you're a mother and you have your 1-year-old and your 2-year-old and they threaten to take your kids away from you, I mean whether that's possible or whether that's, you know, against the law, it just, it made my heart drop," she said.

Photo: Song_about_summer / Shutterstock


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Delta Airlines eventually released a statement, publicly apologizing to the family for the inconvenience. "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," the company said.

"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."


It can be incredibly frustrating when big corporations, such as Delta, exhibit behavior that makes it seem as if they don't care about their customers, but rather how much money they can make from consumers. Thankfully, the family was able to stay in a hotel for the night and reboard a different flight in the morning.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.