Woman Denied Boarding Because She Was Too Pale to Fly

I took a Cathay Pacific flight once where a woman in business class used moisturizer from the amenity kit prior to departure, and complained to a flight attendant that it was causing her skin to break out. It sounded like she wanted special treatment or compensation, maybe an upgrade to first class. Cathay made the woman deplane — since the last thing the airline wanted was for a medical emergency to occur midflight and cause a diversion.

Etihad recently took an ever stricter position with regard to fear of passenger illness: A teenage girl was leaning against her mother at check-in at the Manchester airport in the U.K. She was pale, because she’s Scottish. So Etihad felt she might not be fit to fly. (HT to the ever-vigilant Paul H.)

A redheaded Scottish teenager was reduced to tears after being told she was “too pale” to board an Etihad flight.

Check-in staff said they feared Grace Wain, 14, was unwell as she queued to get on a flight to a dream holiday in the Maldives with her family.

An airport paramedic was summoned, and he gave her the ok to fly it seems, but the airline still wouldn’t allow it without a letter from her physician which… they managed to get in time for departure.

Their trip was to the Maldives, via Abu Dhabi, and Etihad then lost their luggage. For three days.

“It’s not like she has lost her bags in Dubai and can go to the mall to buy stuff.”

Bus Gates. Always Bus Gates.

Boarding Etihad’s Abu Dhabi – Male Flight

Arriving in Male

Baggage Claim in Male

Sheena said she spent three days of misery dressed for 13C weather in the 30C heat of the Maldives.

She said: “It’s the holiday of a lifetime but it has been a disaster from the start”

Etihad’s response was pretty much… yeah.

Staff were concerned about the wellbeing of a young passenger ahead of a lengthy flight.

The team called for a medic who examined the child and requested a ‘fit to fly’ letter from a doctor, allowing the family to board. Our team on the ground continued to provide support ahead of the flight.

Unfortunately, when the family arrived, some of their baggage was missing.

The family will get “[c]ompensation in line with standard guidelines” which is, no doubt, reassuring.

It’s sad that US airlines don’t even think they can compete against this.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Eithad is shite with compensation though.
    They’ve refused to compensate me for an ex-eu flight/connection (booked under the same ticket) which was covered by EU-261 protection. Eithad can go fuck themselves

  2. Our experience is that Etihad from the minute you step on the plane to the minute you step off is great.

    Everything else… well there is a lot of room for improvement.

  3. Gee, Gary do you profread your comments before they post? Shame on you. I’m referring to “Brian’s response”.

  4. @MrLassen- clearly comments are neither “profread” nor edited prior to posting. I think there might be a short delay just to filter for complete spam, but otherwise, readers are allowed to post what ever “shite” they feel they need to get off their chest.

    Would agree with the earlier comments that air service much better than ground service for Eithad. That’s also true of many others, like Emirates, Qatar, even SQ and Cathay…

  5. @Brian so they said no and you just took it? LOL pretty easy to get you off their backs. Where I live now in the uncivilized world the first answer is always no just to get you to go away….
    @mrlassen if petty shite disturbs you, to the extent of having to post about it, you must have a huge stick up your arse

    This article is a very good example of how we should all learn to travel with a carry on that is packed with a nice variety of clothing.

  6. @Gary, I think @MrLassen was upset by the language that @Brian used in his comments, and implied you should filter those out.

  7. Yes, I was referring to Brian’s choice of words and view from the wings allowing it to be posted. I guess if this blog offends me then I should quite reading it, as some of you will post. However, the blog has some good advise and enjoy that part, I don’t see any value in expressing your self like that in public.

  8. @Mrlasssen my approach is that what people post as comments reflects on them, their intellect, their character more than anything else. It’s not my job or even appropriate to prevent someone from looking like an idiot if they so choose.

  9. Back to the original topic – if all the gate agents in the US were native Americans, the planes would go empty as the gate agents would turn all the pale faces 😉 away.

  10. This is hilarious. I flew from Athens to the Maldives via Abu Dhabi & Doha on 7/8 and Etihad lost my bags too!! Thankfully it arrived later in the evening, but my wife did not have a swim suit on her carry on so she pretty much lost out on a day of water activities. We would’ve bought one from the Park Hyatt boutique shop had they not been over sized and over priced ($210 !!!).

  11. we had kind of the same problem with Etihad. They did not let my mother in law board the flight because they thought she was sick. The doctor visited her and approved her health but they did not let her board the next flight again. They kept her in Abu dhabi for 24 hours! Let’s not talk about the rude behavior of the flight attendants!

    They seem to have a history on these issues.

  12. My mother and mother in law traveled to Sydney from Abu dhabi last month. For some language misunderstanding, my mother in law was offloaded and my mother was threatened to be deported back home if she wanted to leave the plane too. The flight attendants did not let other few people with the same language background to offer translations.

    In Abu dhabi, even though the doctor approved her health, they did not let her board the next flight while she was issued a boarding flight for that too. She was made to sleep in the sleeping pod.
    It’s now over a month that I am seeking an answer to all these questions. They do not answer and they don’t even try to compensate for their return flight in a form of upgrade or something.
    Does anybody know if we can complain formally or sue them?

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