The family was travelling from Hawaii to Los Angeles last week, when they were told they would need to hold their toddler for the duration of the flight, instead of using a seat they had purchased to hold his car seat.
The Schear family had originally purchased the ticket for their 18-year-old son — but ended up sending him home on an earlier flight so that they could use the seat for their toddler. The family did not expect to be threatened with prison over the switch.
"As a mother, you have a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old — it doesn't matter whether that's true or false. It put fear in me," Brittany Schear told the station.
The upset parents filmed the encounter, and have since published it to YouTube.
"You're saying you're gonna give that away to someone else when I paid for that seat?" Brian Schear is heard saying to a Delta employee. "That's not right."
Schear claims that the staff knew he intended to use the seat for his younger child when they boarded the plane.
"You need to do what's right," he tells the employee. "I bought the seat and you need to just leave us alone."
Eventually the family agreed to hold their baby, but that concession was too little, too late for Delta; the Schears were removed from the flight, and ended up having to spend an additional $2,000 to book hotel accommodations and new United Airlines flights to travel the following day.
"We're sorry for what this family experienced. Our team has reached out and will be talking with them to better understand what happened and come to a resolution,” Delta said in a statement to ABC.
The airline industry has been under fire ever since the release of a violent witness video of Dr. David Dao being dragged from a flight that United had overbooked.
On Tuesday, United CEO Oscar Munoz was called to testify before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee over the incident.
Committee Chairman Bill Shuster warned Munoz and the other airline representatives that were present that Congress will take action if airline officials do not, to prevent similar incidents in the future, adding that they "would not like the outcome."
United reached a settlement with Dao, 69, last week. A provision of the settlement is that the amount paid remains private.
The viral video of Dao being assaulted sparked massive outrage on social media, and sent the airline’s stock plummeting.
The settlement announcement came on the same day that United Airlines revealed some big policy changes, including raising the maximum incentive for a passenger to give up their seat when a flight is overbooked to $10,000.
The airline also announced that they will be reducing the amount of overbooking on their flights and limiting their use of law enforcement to safety and security issues only, among other changes.
Dao, who lost two front teeth as he was dragged by his wrists after refusing to give up the seat he had purchased and paid for, has said he is proud of the changes.
Southwest has announced that they are ending the practice of overbooking flights entirely.