Airline Really Sorry For Telling Cancer Patient She Couldn’t Fly Without Doctor’s Note

Alaska Airlines is blaming a “communication breakdown” for an embarrassing incident that resulted in a 51-year-old cancer patient and her family being removed from a plane to San Jose, CA, by an employee who said the woman could not fly unless she had a note from her doctor.

On Monday, the family was at the airport in Hawaii, seated in the handicap section of the boarding area.

According to the passenger, who is being treated for multiple myeloma and was wearing a surgical mask, an airline staffer repeatedly asked her if she needed anything. Eventually, the passenger said she might require a bit of extra time to board because “sometimes I feel weak.”

“Because I said the word weak, the Alaska Airlines employee called a doctor,” wrote the passenger on her Facebook page, along with a video of her and her family being removed. “After we board the plane. An Alaska representative boarded the plane, and told us I could not fly without a note from a doctor stating that I was cleared to fly.”

In an interview with NBA Bay Area, the passenger acknowledged that cancer patients may be at a higher risk during a long transoceanic flight and that she didn’t have a note from her doctor clearing her for travel.

However, she points out that she e-mailed her oncologist during the incident and that the doctor then cleared her for travel. This was not enough for the airline, which she claims would not allow her to reboard.

Instead, she and her family had to spend another night in Maui before ultimately departing for California on a Hawaiian Airlines flight.

The delay in getting home means the passenger will have to reschedule her chemotherapy appointment.

“They need to polish their policies, apply some common sense,” the passenger told NBC. “A simple mask, a word, shouldn’t be enough to pull a whole family off an airplane.”

In a statement to KTLA, an Alaska Airlines rep said the carrier is “very sorry for how the situation was handled,” noting that the “family’s tickets have been refunded and we’ll cover the cost of her family’s overnight accommodations… While our employee had the customer’s well-being in mind, the situation could have been handled differently.”

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