Actually, while the situation was very poorly handled I think the airline was correctly enforcing a ticketing policy that is pretty deeply baked into the ticketing system.
Airline tickets are not transferable. Its been that way for a long time. Actually, I remember a time when you could cheat and transfer the ticket to someone of the same gender but that was a long time ago, before they even checked ID’s. Unless that man is a very inexperienced traveler I don’t know why he thought he could give that seat to someone else whose name wasn’t on the ticket. Even if that someone else was his kid. Even if that someone else was a baby.
It has nothing to do with car seat policy. If John Doe doesn’t show up for his flight, the airline gets the seat back. The person that paid for the seat can’t give it to Joe Doe. This man made a mistake when he sent his older child ahead. He may have thought it was a good idea at the time but he should’ve known better.
If you could transfer tickets the entire purchasing and pricing structure of air travel would be different.
I don’t know that this is a new problem. I saw virtually the EXACT same thing happen on a flight about 8 years ago - except in that case the guy thought he could have his wife hold both kiddies while he flew in peace several rows away.
But the attendant told him he couldn’t do that. There can only be one “lap baby” per row. It has to do with the number of oxygen masks in the row.
The guy pushed back and was removed from the flight. Even after he relented.
On another occasion, the flight attendant moved a handicapped passenger to a bulkhead seat and attempted to reseat the ticket holder when he was among the last to board ( this was back in the day when all coach seat carried the same price ). The passenger told the attendant he wanted “his” seat and kind of pushed him. The guy was thrown off.
It’s a tough situation. Air travel is stressful and people get edgy and its real easy to fall over the edge when things go downhill. Frankly, I don’t blame the airline for refusing to carry passengers that act belligerently. It may be an overabundance of caution but so is every other airline safety policy.
Yes, I will agree that the flight crews often escalate the situation and should be better trained. But its a horrid job, the pay is low (often insanely low on the regional airlines) and the schedule is crazy and they generally don’t get paid at all for things like waiting for delayed flights.
I’ve gotten really angry during air travel, I think I nonce described an incident where a gate agent called me to the desk, asked to see my boarding pass then took it and refused to give it back ( they were considering flying with a less than full flight because of flight weight and adverse weather). I was furious but I managed to control myself. I eventually was allowed on the flight.