American Airlines is apologizing to a mother and son who were kicked off a flight from Texas to South Carolina after crew questioned if a genetic skin disorder was contagious, the Washington Post reported.
Jordan Flake and her son were scheduled to fly home from visiting her husband at a military base when an American Airlines flight crew member asked Flake about her “rash” and if she had a doctor’s note stating it was okay to fly, according to USA Today.
Flake wrote about her experience on the website, Love What Matters, and on Facebook, stating that she has a rare skin condition called ichthyosis, which shows up as dry, scaling skin. Flake’s 1-year-old son, Jackson, also has this condition, which is not contagious.
According to the Washington Post, the crew Googled the skin condition but still returned to Flake saying she would have to get off the flight. An airline employee was called in, who apparently apologized to Flake for the trouble but still escorted her and her son off the plane. Flake wrote that the employee was “very helpful and mad about the situation.”
She directed her frustration at the crew member who had questioned her fitness to fly. “The pilot seemed OK with it, but the flight attendant rudely said (without even acknowledging me) 'well she doesn’t have a letter from a doctor,'” she wrote.
In addition to being removed from the flight, Flake wrote that she wasn’t even able to retrieve her checked luggage and had to make special arrangements for her daughter, who had stayed home during the trip. “I have never been so humiliated in my life! I have emailed them and am waiting for a reply. Happy Rare Disease Day!” Flake wrote.
American Airlines apologized to Flake in a statement, USA Today reported.
“Our goal at American Airlines is to create a welcoming environment for all of our customers,” the airline said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize to Ms. Flake and her son for the experience they had Thursday, and our team has begun an investigation into the matter.”
“Our Customer Relations team has already spoken to her directly and upgraded them on their American flights. We will also be refunding the cost of her trip as well,” the airline added.
“I should never feel ashamed of myself for the way I was born,” Flake said in her post. Up until this incident, Flake had never been asked to show a doctor’s note. “In 2019, it’s time we stop discriminating. Ask questions, and listen.”