London - A model complained she was left “publicly humiliated and ashamed” after being thrown off an easyJet flight because she had a minor epileptic seizure.
Helen Stephens, 30, was due to fly to Greece for a friend’s wedding but had a brief fit minutes before the plane took off from Gatwick.
Paramedics cleared her to continue with her journey but airline staff ignored them and forced her to collect her hand luggage and leave the flight.
“It wasn’t like I’d been drunk and rowdy. I had a bit of a seizure. I just needed to sit there for a minute and go back to my seat,” she said. “If I had to be stretchered off the plane and taken to hospital I could completely understand that.
“But a walking, talking person who can get up and pack her passport away and then get off the plane – it was really embarrassing.”
She later told the Independent: “Having a seizure is embarrassing enough but I felt publicly humiliated and ashamed.”
Miss Stephens, from Southampton, who writes a blog about her condition and raises money for epilepsy charities, was meant to fly to the Greek island of Zakynthos on Wednesday. She was booked on to another flight on Thursday by easyJet, who also provided overnight accommodation.
Miss Stephens added: “They instantly offered me the next flight but it was 24 hours later. And they have given me a place to stay, so high-five to them for that, but actually I’d rather have been in Greece.”
An easyJet spokesperson said: “The captain was concerned about a passenger following a seizure during boarding and so we transferred her onto a flight [the next day] in line with medical guidance.”
The charity Epilepsy Action insisted there was “no evidence to suggest flying is harmful for people with epilepsy” and planned to contact EasyJet about raising awareness. “Epilepsy is a varied condition which affects everyone in very different ways,” a spokesperson said.