American Airlines apologises for removing mother and baby from flight due to rare skin condition
American Airlines has issued an apology to a mother and her son after they were forced to leave a flight because of a rare genetic skin condition.
Jordan Flake and her son, Jackson, were thrown off a flight to South Carolina on the 28th February after cabin crew noticed that they had a visible rash. Flake later took to Facebook to document the ordeal, where she stated that she had never been "so humiliated" in her life.
"Today is #rarediseaseday! While I’d like to share something positive, Jackson and I were just discriminated against...big time!" Flake's post began.
"We boarded our American Airlines flight where everyone smiled and talked to Jackson. Before take off a man (employee called on flight to handle the situation) came up to my row and asked the 2 men sitting next to me to get up. He then quietly asked me about “my rash” and if I had a letter from a doctor stating it was ok for me to fly."
Despite the mother explaining that she and her son were born with Ichthyosis - a condition, which according to the NHS, is non-contagious and leaves skin extremely dry, thick and scaly - she was still informed that they would have to leave the flight.
"I explained to him that it was called Ichthyosis and it was a genetic skin condition. He walked up to the front to talk to the crew. He apparently also googled it during that time. He came back and said he apologized but we wouldn’t be able to fly and we had to get off the plane. He helped me get my bags and Jackson. He talked to the pilot as we were getting off. The pilot seemed ok with it, but the flight attendant rudely said (without even acknowledging me) 'well she doesn’t have a letter from a doctor, so...'" Flake continued.
"They also weren’t able to retrieve my checked luggage. The man helped me off the plane, got me a hotel and a new flight with a different airline. I had to make unexpected childcare arrangements for my daughter at home and I am having to get a ride to the store to get our lotions and some clothes for tomorrow. I have never been so humiliated in my life! I have emailed them and am waiting for a reply. Happy Rare Disease Day! Quit being ignorant and take the time to listen to people! I shouldn’t have to explain myself."
"Just to clarify, my issue is with the crew. Not an airline employee. He was called by the crew to remove me from the plane," she added. "He was very helpful and mad about the situation. He tried advocating for me."
American Airlines have since released a statement responding to the incident: "Our goal at American Airlines is to create a welcoming environment for all of our customers. We sincerely apologise to Ms Flake and her son for the experience they had Thursday, and our team has begun an investigation into the matter."
They added that they have been in touch with Ms. Flake, and would be refunding the cost of the journey.