Woman’s humiliation on flight

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?

Related articles:
Skincare tips for travellers
Skin changes you should know about
Treating common skin conditions

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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