Woman humiliated on Rare Disease Day

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A woman with a rare genetic skin condition was humiliated and booted off an American Airlines flight last week.

To add insult to injury, this occurred on 28 February, which happens to be Rare Disease Day.

Jordan Flake boarded the American Airlines flight with her infant son, Jackson, who also has the condition known as ichthyosis, which is characterised by dry, thick skin.

“Everyone smiled and talked to Jackson,” she wrote on her Facebook post.

But before take-off, she was approached by an airline staffer, asked about her ‘rash’ and whether she had a doctor’s certificate to prove that she was okay to fly.

“I explained to him that it was called ichthyosis and it was a genetic skin condition,” she wrote.

The American Airlines employee then conferred with crew and “apparently also Googled it [ichthyosis] during that time”.

“He came back and said he apologised 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 okay with it, but the flight attendant rudely said (without even acknowledging me): ‘Well, she doesn’t have a letter from a doctor, so…’

Ms Flake’s bags were stuck on the plane, so she was put up in a hotel for the night and alternative arrangements were made with a different airline.

“I have never been so humiliated in my life! I have emailed them [American Airlines] 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.”

While most have been sympathetic to Ms Flake’s situation, others have sided with the airline. Whose side are you on?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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6 Comments

Total Comments: 6
  1. 0
    0

    I can attest to the nature of America Airlines stewards. We were on an American Airlines flight a few years ago and the stewardess, an old boiler, who should have been made redundant treated the customers with the utmost contempt. The guy sitting next to us who was slow to shut down his computer was savaged by the woman and it looked like they were going to come to blows.
    Don’t fly American Airlines if you are ever in the States. Apart from this incident we were parked on the runway for almost 2 hours one flight with them trying to fix the brakes. We ended up being regular travellers with Southwest, a wonderful airline although in the past 2 years they’ve had some issues. I suspect they’ve done what is necessary to make sure these are now fixed.

    • 0
      0

      Even an old boiler is a compliment! I complained bitterly to United Airlines re a situation beyond our control, and you guessed it, their reply was don’t fly with us again ?!?

  2. 0
    0

    We had an unhappy experience with an American Airlines mature cabin attendant three years ago on a joint A.A/ Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, We had a Qantas coupon and did not realize the return leg was an A.A. flight, during the main meals service we asked for tea instead of coffee, after we had finished our meal we asked the same woman for our tea she abruptly told us “its to late now, we are clearing the Garbage” after writing to Qantas we were offered a US$ 100 American Airlines voucher which was only valid on A.A. flights, we live in North Queensland so the M.C.O. was useless.

  3. 0
    0

    I really feel for this lady especially as from the photo the condition does not really look like a rash. However I can understand it from both sides of the story as people could lie about what it was. I know you shouldn’t have to, but if it was me, I would permanently carry a letter from my doctor so that I would not be inconvenienced.

  4. 0
    0

    Why not carry a letter from a doctor, explaining in detail what this skin condition is and that it is not contagious or dangerous to anyone else. Simple, would saved a lot of angst and so many people involved not aware of the issue up front and therefore having to make a panicked snap decision to offload them.

  5. 0
    0

    It’s a RARE disease, so how are ordinary people supposed to be able to identify it as a non contagious condition? Carry a doctors letter and be done with it.


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