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Family Kicked off Flight Because Their Son Has Epilepsy

Family Kicked off Flight Because Their Son Has Epilepsy
Jennifer Billock

A family supposed to be on an Emirates flight bound for France from Dubai suffered a harrowing experience when the airline kicked the entire family off the plane because one of the children has epilepsy – even though the family informed staff in advance and even got a doctor on the phone to verify it was fine to fly.

The Kumar family – Euronews journalist Isabelle; her 17-year-old son Eli, who has epilepsy and other disabilities; her husband; and two young boys – were all recently kicked off an Emirates flight heading to France from Dubai. Eli had a medical certificate and clearance to be on the plane from his doctor, but airline crew removed them from the flight anyway after asking to see the certificate.

“I couldn’t initially find the certificate, But I called the doctor, got them to email the certificate which she did immediately,” Isabelle Kumar told The Guardian. “Eli’s doctor wanted to speak to the attendants but they refused to speak to her, refused to look at the certificate, and refused to listen to us about Eli’s needs.”

Kumar had called in advance to ensure this type of situation wouldn’t happen, as it was very traumatic for Eli and the rest of the family.

“The children were crying, Eli was really distressed, he was biting his arm which is how he copes with stress, holding his head in his hands,” Kumar told The Guardian. “We managed to get him off OK, and there was an emergency medical team waiting. They thought he’d had a medical emergency, but we said he was fine. They couldn’t understand why we had been kicked off. They immediately agreed he was fine to fly, but we were not allowed to re-board. The lack of humanity was really shocking.”

Kumar said the family continued to be treated poorly until she took to Twitter to vent her outrage.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (2)


  1. makrom

    July 31, 2018 at 11:27 am

    This story lacks some crucial details. Obviously the EK staff could have been more cooperative and given the family a chance to rectify their mistake, rather than just calling it a day after the initial assessment.
    But let’s not forget that the family was unable to show the certificate when EK asked for it. It sounds like they put a lot of effort into preparation, yet just somehow forgot such a crucial document.
    From a neutral point of view, after the initial denial, it could very well be that the family is just trying to make up documentation and put some random person pretending to be the child’s doctor on the phone. I’m not suggesting that’s what the family did but how could EK tell the difference?

  2. S c 0 TT y

    August 2, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Agree with the above, the certificate was crucial and im sorry but digital doesn’t cut it, nor does speaking to a doctor on the phone who may or may not be an actual doctor.

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