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.