Etihad Airways refused to allow a two-year old girl to board a flight with her father because she had eczema.
The airline defended it’s decision saying the father, Michael Comninos, did not produce a medical certificate at the airport for his daughter Xanthe. Etihad’s policy states that in order for a passenger to fly with an existing condition they must first produce a medical certificate from their doctor. Mr. Comninos was only made aware of this fact when he checked in for his flight.
The 36 year old father said airline staff refused to discuss the decision with him and that a trained health professional did not see the Xanthe in person.
A spokesperson for the airline said: ‘This action was taken for the wellbeing of the guest, based on the recommendation of Medlink, the medical advisory service used by the airline.’
The father-of-two explained to staff at the check in desk that he had given his daughter an antihistamine for the skin condition, which had flared up just hours before arriving at the airport.
‘I was told I needed to take my daughter to a doctor and have her checked to determine that she would be fit to fly,’ the father said on his Facebook page.
‘It just so happened as part of my flying prep I went to the family doctor this week and spoke to practitioners twice. I produced a letter from my doctor saying that my daughter was fit to fly. My doctor also offered to speak to Etihad staff to explain my daughter’s condition.’
Despite the letter, it was decided that the family could not travel without a doctor’s certificate for the little girl.
Etihad Airlines did help the father arrange another flight for himself and his daughter for the following day. After getting a certificate from the GP, Xanthe and her dad were able to board the next flight and meet up with the rest of their family.
‘Etihad Airways takes the safety and wellbeing of its guests extremely seriously and regrets any inconvenience which may have been experienced by the guests concerned as a result of this necessary medical delay,’ the spokesperson said.
The family however is not satisfied with the treatment they received from the airline.
‘No apology, no acknowledgement of the inconvenience caused,’ Michael wrote after checking in on Saturday.
‘Front line staff inspected my daughters face and spoke to the faceless Medlink people again. This time she was asleep and not crying from being stuffed around for 90 minutes.’
(Eczema is a medical condition in which patches of skin become rough and inflamed with blisters which cause itching and bleeding.)