I honestly wouldn't believe squat from ABC news or any other news outlet these days. If nobody has picked up on the pattern, something outrageous occurs that stirs the public opinion, then suddenly, that same theme becomes an epidemic. We started with United Airlines vs Dr Dao, and now we have weekly, (almost bi-weekly) events all involving airlines, gate agents or flight attendants, and passengers. Stories are always either exaggerated or told with some information "conveniently" left out. After all is said and done with, we hear multiple versions of the stories, but never a correction from the media that gave you incorrect information. And, while we are in the process of telling a story, we must identify the "villain", the "victim", and we must include video surveillance which consequently never shows the entire event, but only bits and pieces, and serves as absolute proof of what occurred.
That being said, the flight attendant was in the wrong for saying what she said to the father, so here lies Delta's PR mess. Everything aside, the father was in the wrong on this. If there are standbys for this flight, and there are no shows for the flight, those seats will be occupied by the folks standing by. That's how it works for most airlines. When I have flown with my two kids when they were under two, they were on my lap. I went on those flights knowing that my child would be on me or my wife. Even if the seat next to me would miraculously be empty for this flight, I would have not placed my child in that seat most likely for safety purposes as a normal seat belt on any passenger jet does not secure small children in a manner that I feel to be adequate during severe turbulence. And I say this having flown a few months ago with my 4 year old and 3 year old kids occupying seats that we paid for them. So this is not this outrageous story that the media is portraying as the big bad airline vs and innocent family. I agree that if he agreed to hold the child in his hands after the confrontation occurred, then he should have been able to stay on, but again, depended on how confrontational he became before the video started rolling. For the airline, this has some repercussions. By admitting wrong doing, and not specifically mentioning the actions of the flight attendant, we open a can of worms where many "innocent" passengers will learn from this event and apply the same routine on another flight, because lots of Americans are not opportunistic, and won't try to take advantage of something. Some say that social media is the greatest invention to our society, that it is "our" weapon to use against greedy corporations. I see it as the complete opposite. Next week there will be another incident on an airline, (because we haven't got to B6, WN, etc... YET!!), and it will continue until we get bored and move onto the next big story that comes along.