Airline Apologises for Removing Cancer Patient from Flight

Alaska Airlines was recently forced to apologise to a cancer patient and her family, after staff removed them from their flight home.

The passenger in question was Elizabeth Sedway from California, who has Multiple Myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer which affects the bones).

Ms Sedway had been holidaying in Hawaii with her family without issue, but started to feel weak at the airport whilst waiting to board her flight home. She explained to airline staff that this was a common occurrence, and that it might take her a little longer to board the plane. Her family where allowed to board without her, but after finding their seats they were all asked to leave.

Apparently during this time airline staff had called a doctor, who concluded that Ms Sedway was not fit to fly. The doctor was concerned about her symptoms, and that she would be flying over open water for a prolonged period, with no option for an emergency landing if she was to suddenly take a turn for the worse.

Ms Sedway and her family were not allowed to fly home until the next day, after she contacted her Oncologist who confirmed she would be fine to fly home. Not only did this cause the family added expense, it also meant that Ms Sedway missed a scheduled chemotherapy appointment.

The airline has since apologised to the family, refunded their additional expenditure, and has also admitted that staff could have handled the situation differently.

Airlines cannot refuse to provide transport because of a ‘disability’, but if they think a passenger may be so ill that they could endanger other passengers, or that an emergency landing could be necessary, they can deny boarding. If you have an on-going medical condition, remember to carry a fit to fly certificate from your doctor, and original prescriptions for any medications.

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