The Emirates airline is facing a severe backlash after it reportedly kicked a family group off a flight because of the son’s autism and epilepsy – regardless of the boy having a medical cert to visit.
Euronews presenter, Isabel Kumar, tweeted her concern regarding the incident on the flight.
Her family had boarded a flight from Dubai to France and asked whether her son, Eli, could sit close to a clear seat in the event he previously an epileptic seizure. The cabin crew asked to visit a medical certificate then.
The family were on the flight from New Zealand, with Dubai being the stopover and France being the final destination.
Thanks @emirates for removing our family from your flight. Our son has epilepsy: we had told you, just come 14 hr from Melbourne, got his doctor on the phone & medical clearance while still on board. He has #autism & severe learning difficulties - v traumatic. pic.twitter.com/1JXw9A4EYM— Isabelle Kumar (@Isabelle_kumar) July 25, 2018
“We told Emirates every step of just how that Eli had epilepsy (and autism) however when we asked for a seat with a vacant seat close to it in the event he previously a seizure, they wished to start to see the medical certificate suddenly,” Kumar said.
Kumar presented the certificate but was told it needed to be directed at ground crew. She also told them that she could notify the doctor to verify that he could fly, however, the staff wouldn't commonly speak to the physician and ordered the grouped family off the plane.
Staff threatened to call the authorities if they didn’t leave.
Once kicked off - your staff immediately agreed that he is fine to fly - as he has been with every flight with you @emirates. Now there is no flight home. Kids totally distraught and humiliated. Where is your humanity?— Isabelle Kumar (@Isabelle_kumar) July 25, 2018
Hi Isabelle, we’re sorry to hear this. Please DM us your booking reference and email address. We’ll look into this.— Emirates Support (@EmiratesSupport) July 25, 2018
Once the grouped family were off the plane, the bottom staff agreed her son was fine to fly, “as he’s got been with every flight with you, Emirates,” Kumar tweeted. "Eli was distressed and beside himself,” Kumar told Stuff.co.nz, while her two other children were quote, "in tears” and felt humiliated. The household was unable to obtain another flight back.
“You face endless challenges having a kid with disabilities and being treated with respect would help, but it will never stop us from travelling as a grouped family,” Kumar said.
Emirates said it had been sorry for just about any inconvenience or stress caused and said, “Such situations are problematic for operational staff to assess usually, plus they opted to do something in the most effective interest of our passengers’ safety in addition to the advice from our medical team.”
Kumar said the household spent about eight hours in the airport and had nothing to consume until they surely got to their “disgusting” hotel, that Emirates said it paid. The family were booked on a flight to Geneva, the next day and had to obtain a bus to Lyon, Switzerland, a journey that the airline would pay for.
So @emirates thank you - despite hold up in Dubai after being kicked off your flight you did not manage to get all our bags home with us! Great customer service. And of course 600€ transfer from Geneva to Lyon had to be paid by us!— Isabelle Kumar (@Isabelle_kumar) July 26, 2018
This is unacceptable. @emirates asked for this boy's medical certificate ("fit to fly"), was shown it, and still kicked him and his family off the plane due to his #autism and #epilepsy. NOT OKAY. https://t.co/a8VBSdWN51— Head Full Of Kittens #PCPEU (@notwaving) July 26, 2018
Appalling that an airline would do this in 2018! I hope they’ve organised for you to get where you need to ASAP & with the due apologies! @emirates since when did you become an American airline?— Maithreyi (@maithreyi_s) July 26, 2018