A Delta agent was filmed smacking a 12-year-old boy's phone away as he recorded her giving excuses for a 17-hour flight delay.

Matthew Boggan, 12, was stuck at New York's La Guardia Airport with his family last July.

They were due to be flying to West Palm Beach in Florida but bad weather set them back 17 hours.

As the Delta agent addressed angry customers in the gate, Matthew began filming her with his iPhone, the Daily Mail reported.

Advertisement

Footage shows the agent batting it away, telling him to "put the phone down", to the shock of others watching. "Don't grab his stuff!" said one onlooker.

The Boggan family, who live in Suffern, New York, is now suing the airline for unspecified damages.

They filed their lawsuit last year but it has not been settled.

Now, they say they have been spurred on to pursue it amid global outrage of how airlines treat customers that was sparked by a Kentucky doctor's forcible removal from a United Airlines flight last month.

"We believe that Delta's actions here are indicative of the complete disregard the airlines have for their passengers," attorney Terrence James Cortelli told DailyMail.com on Wednesday.

"They simply do not have any sensitivity for the men, women and children who ride their planes. We understand that delays happen. But here the delays went above and beyond.

"And not only that, they sought out and attacked and humiliated a child, as if he was to blame for the mess they created. And now they say he deserved it.

"Their actions are outrageous and we look forward to presenting our case to a jury."

The unidentified Delta employee was speaking to disgruntled customers as they complained about a 17-hour flight delay when she smacked they boy's phone away.
The unidentified Delta employee was speaking to disgruntled customers as they complained about a 17-hour flight delay when she smacked they boy's phone away.

A spokesman for Delta declined to comment yesterday.

The lawsuit recounts how the family were forced to sleep on the floor outside the gate as they waited to take off.

When the agent began addressing customers, Boggan took out his iPhone 6s and started filming the scene on Snapchat. Quickly afterwards, the woman batted the phone away.

"Put your phone down," she said. According to the lawsuit, the employee then said it was "illegal" for him to be filming her.

Matthew's father, Brian Boggan, said other passengers then started yelling "this is child abuse".

The Boggans eventually boarded the flight to West Palm Beach but arrived so late that they missed most of the bar mitzvah they hoped to attend.

Delta attributed the long delays to a "weather event" and "effects on the air crew's ability".

The agent has not been named.

US lawmakers have threatened United Airlines and other carriers on Tuesday with legislation aimed at improving customer service after a passenger was hauled down the aisle of a flight last month.

Top airline executives testified to the House of Representatives transportation committee and promised to address customer service failures at the hearing held to consider ways to address passenger frustrations with problems such as overbooking.

The industry breathed a sigh of relief after the four-hour hearing, in which lawmakers did not outline any immediate plans for increased oversight on the largely deregulated sector.

In April, video went viral on social media of 69-year-old David Dao being dragged from a United flight at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after he refused to give up his seat to make room for crew members.

United chief executive Oscar Munoz repeatedly apologised at the hearing for the removal of Dao, with whom the airline reached a settlement last week for an undisclosed sum.

American Airlines experienced its own public relations fiasco last month when a passenger video went viral, showing a woman on a plane in tears holding a child in her arms and another at her side after an encounter with a flight attendant over a baby stroller.

In response to the dragging of Dao, United has changed its policies by reducing overbooked flights and offering passengers who give up their seats up to $10,000.

Airlines have said they routinely overbook flights because a small percentage of passengers do not show up.

Delta Air Lines declined to testify, but said it was working with individual members of Congress on customer service issues.

Doctor who wouldn't leave overbooked United flight filmed dragged off, battered and limp. Twitter / @Tyler_Bridges / @JayseDavid