Delta Kicks Out Family From Maui – Los Angeles DL2222 Flight Over Seat Dispute (Long Video)


We have recently featured “challenges” that both United and American have had with their passengers. Seems that it is now Delta’s turn to be in the spotlight.

Delta decided to kick out a family (parents and two small kids) from Maui – Los Angeles flight on April 23rd and, as is now often the case, there is a video of the incident.

Here’s what the family wrote on YouTube:

Here is a video of Delta airlines booting myself, my wife and my 2 children ages 1 and 2 off delta flight 2222 April 23 from Maui to LAX. They oversold the flight and asked us to give up a seat we purchased for my older son that my younger son was sitting in. You will hear them lie to me numerous times to get my son out of the seat.The end result was we were all kicked off the flight. They then filled our 4 seats with 4 customers that had tickets but no seats. They oversold the flight. When will this all stop? It was midnight in Maui and we had to get a hotel and purchase new tickets the following day.

Here’s Inside Edition’s take:

Here’s an excerpt from Washington Post about the conversation on the video (access the piece here):

Later in the video, an agent can be heard telling Schear that according to Federal Aviation Administration regulations, his 2-year-old son could not occupy a seat during the flight and would need to sit in an adult’s lap.

Schear explained that his toddler had been strapped into a car seat in his own seat on the destination flight, but the agent brushed him off.

In actuality, the FAA states that children are safer in government-approved car seats — not on laps, saying, “Your arms aren’t capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.”

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges you to secure your child in a CRS or device for the duration of your flight,” the agency states. “It’s the smart and right thing to do so that everyone in your family arrives safely at your destination. The FAA is giving you the information you need to make informed decisions about your family’s travel plans.”

And here’s an excerpt from Los Angeles Times (access the piece here):

An employee insists they were simply trying to help the family, prompting another irritated response from Brian Schear.

“Trying to help us would have been not overselling the flight and not trying to get him out of that seat, that I paid for,” he said.

After several minutes of arguing, Brian Schear relented and agreed to fly with his son in his lap. But at that point, the flight staff ordered his family off the flight.

Once he was informed that his family was being removed from the plane, Brian Schear asked where his family was supposed to stay or how they were supposed to get back to Los Angeles.


Their 18 year old son had taken earlier flight back to Los Angeles, although he was originally ticketed on this flight. Seems that they tried to use his seat for one of the toddlers.

As is often the case with airline employees, the Flight Attendant speaking on the video threatening them with jail and putting the kids in foster care and lying about the FAA regulations that Delta ought to adhere to should probably not be in this line of business. Why make up stuff like this?

And I am not saying that the family is right here. Airline employees should, however, have some training on how to treat people with respect and diffuse tricky situations.

The family here was at the end willing to have the toddler as lap infant. This was not enough to Delta at that point. They wanted the family out in order to board standby passengers (flight might have been oversold).

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  • Gary Gray

    Meanwhile, shareholders are on holidays via First Class as their once minuscule profits have been maximized at the expense of civilized business practices.

    • cscasi

      Guess you must not have purchased shares in American Airlines, which by the way, is available for anyone who wants to purchase them.

  • Emmanuel Kalispera

    All those overbookings won’t stop? Won’t any federal law prevent airlines from selling more than they can? It’s ridiculous, no excuses.

  • Michael Spronkler

    It would be interesting to see any notes on the reservation. Did the passengers inform the airline they wanted to change the passenger for that ticket? My guess is that normally is not acceptable, as the passenger in the seat needs to match the ticketed passenger. Both sides may be in the wrong, but I would say the passengers are more in the wrong than the airline.

  • Joe S

    Were they bogarting (taking) the extra seat on the sly? If the empty seat person went on an earlier flight, that seat would be open. Sounds like they “claimed” it anyway?

    What I don’t understand is if they were giving up just one seat, why four people coming on the plane?

    Sounds shady on both sides.

    • cscasi

      Because they kicked the three more members of the family off; made the whole family leave; one open seat they were trying to use plus the three they had purchased. Remember the one seat they wanted the young child to occupy in a safety seat was not theirs It was bought for their older son who went on an earlier flight. Therefore, even though they had purchased the ticket for their son, it was in his name and when he did not show up, the seat became open because of a no show.
      I am not certain why the family did that; bought a seat for their older son and then he went back on an earlier flight. Seems like a waste of money. They could have cancelled his ticket and got a credit good for a year.

  • Attention All Passengers

    Inarticulate (or ill-trained, dumb) airline employees and ignorant passengers make for a troublesome combination. Expect to see a lot more over and over again, all airlines.

    • Sherry Williams

      Totally agree!!!

  • Natasha

    It’s time for airlines in America to be held accountable. My husband, the most respectful, decent person on the planet, was nearly kicked off an AA flight returning from Kona, Hawaii in December. He didn’t have a seat next to me and was told by the flight attendant to “just take” the seat next to me. He stated “Ma’am, I think I would prefer to wait and be certain that the person who was assigned that seat doesn’t mind giving up the aisle.” The flight attendant then told him that if he didn’t follow her directions, the whole family would be on a later flight ( there were 6 of us). We were all told to immediately fasten our seat belts. This was early in the boarding process and the seat belt sign wasn’t even on. The plane was mostly empty. When my mother tried to get up to use the restroom several minutes later (age 70), the threat to remove us was repeated. It was insane behavior and I just couldn’t make sense of it. What a privilege to be Executive Platinum on American Airlines.

    • cscasi

      I notice how you could not resist stating that you are an Executive Platinum on American Airlines. In this case, that should make zero difference; other than to, perhaps make you feel more “entitled”?
      I am not certain why the flight attendant acted as “you stated” she did, but since we do not have both sides of the story, it is hard to fully understand what actually happened and why.
      If you felt the flight attendant was overstepping her authority, you should have reported that to American Airlines on a customer complaint form. Had you done so, I am certain you would have received a response; probably not what you might like, but a reply nonetheless; letting you know that your complaint had been duly noted. Perhaps the airline would have brought in the flight attendant for a talk and perhaps a bit more training in handling passengers.

      • Natasha

        Sorry to clarify – I brought up my husband’s Exec Plat status in reference to the early boarding privileges, which put our family on the plane before the other party whose seat he was given. Without those privileges, we would have boarded later and likely avoided being handed another person’s seat without their permission. Nobody should be treated in that manner, regardless of status. As far as customer service on AA goes, you can no longer talk to an actual person. The form is a waste of time, in our experience. I am hopeful that these recent incidents will cause all of our airlines in America to take a closer look at the behavior of their staff. Have a nice day!

  • Joanna Tousey

    Didn’t anyone else take offense at the man being told they’d be put in jail and their children taken from them?

  • Charles Grimes

    For those who are curious about these things, the primary set of regulations that govern air carrier operation is 14 CFR Part 121. The first paragraph, 121.1 makes the entire Part applicable to anyone onboard the aircraft which is the basis for the obligatory announcement that passengers are required to “…obey placards, signs and crew member instructions…”

    Now, what is stated in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). Well, some you would expect are detailed, others are somewhat vague or missing entirely. Ever been frustrated when flying on carrier “X” and no one cares about the window shades. Next flight–probably on a code share partner–the flight attendants run around before push back making sure all the shades are open, claiming that it is an FAR requirement. Trust me, you won’t find one word about window shades anywhere in CFR 14.

    So, are they lying. Well, no, not really. Part 121 Subpart G requires airlines to publish manuals for flight crew (this includes cabin), ground and management. The manuals are written by the airline, and approved/signed by FAA. Once approved and signed, the air carrier and its employees must adhere to the manual which they are required to do under the FARs. If their manual says that window shades must be open for take-off and landing, then they must be open in order for the crew to comply with the manual required by the FARs that the FAA says are just as applicable to you the passenger.

    The only stipulation is that the manual cannot add a requirement that is contrary to the FARs. Small children riding in car seats is a recommendation–a good one–but only that. It does not have the force of law. So, strangely, an airline, say Delta, would write in its manual(s) that children 2 and under cannot sit in their own seat, which is actually a rationale idea since a child that young could not safely sit in a normal seat with a seat belt (any more than you would put them in an automobile seat with it’s normal seat belt. Common sense would add the proviso “unless in an approved car seat…” and could limit your ability to do that unless you had paid for the seat.

    But, who know what Delta’s manual says…

    • Jimbo

      “which is actually a rationale idea since a child that young could not safely sit in a normal seat with a seat belt”.
      Funny how air traveling is still both mystified and glorified so much. It is totally safe for a two-year-old to sit on an airplane seat. Comparing it with car traveling is ridiculous as car traveling is 100 times more dangerous. A child is probably as much in danger in an airplane seat as sitting beside the kitchen table. But woow, it is air traveling, it must be dangerous for sure. Americans, full of fear constantly. Well, I guess that isn’t any wonder as US “news” is full of violence and accidents mostly.

      Almost as funny is how some people also glorify air traveling like that ridiculous german guy on this page. How cool is it to fly on first class really? Not great at all: flying first class just makes air travel bearable when you have to get somewhere. It still doesn’t make it fun or a great way to spend your time, ever. I can think thousands of other places I’d rather be than on an airplane, whatever the class. I guess the enjoyment of flying first class for some people is that it is such an easy way to make your low self-esteem better by thinking how much better a person you are than those small people in economy.

  • Ridoncularious

    You’d think with the recent incidents (at least the ones that have been extremely well-publicized) that all airlines would have taken a step back and mandated some additional customer service training particularly for their client-facing staff (i.e. flight attendants).

    It seems that Delta was either unaware of the Dr. Dao incident or just of the mind that that situation was one that couldn’t/wouldn’t possibly happen to them.

  • Jimbo

    I’m quite sure we won’t see these videos in the recent future anymore. Not that airlines get their act together but they most certainly will invent “videorecording on the airplane is strictly prohibited” + some crazy threats americans usually make with the prohibitions like 200 000 $ fine or 5 years in jail.

    • Attention All Passengers

      Unless airline staff are posted at every row “standing guard”, how are you going to stop that (during boarding or inflight or at gates) ?

    • Sherry Williams

      If the Mom was standing ready to take a video, they were definitely up to something! Who does that!