COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) – American Airlines has issued an apology to a South Carolina woman and her young son after they were kicked off a flight Thursday because of a genetic skin condition her family said she has suffered from since birth.
Jordan Flake, who is from Columbia, posted about the ordeal on Facebook.
She wrote that she and her son, Jackson were discriminated against after they boarded a flight from El Paso, TX to Dallas. It happened on Rare Disease Day, which is observed each year on the last day of February to raise awareness about lesser known and rare diseases that people are facing.
Below is her full post:
“Today is #rarediseaseday !
While I’d like to share something positive, Jackson and I were just discriminated against...big time!
**just to clarify, my issue is with the crew. Not the airline employee. He was called by the crew to remove me from the plane. He was very helpful and mad about the situation. He tried advocating for me!**
We boarded our American Airlines flight where everyone smiled and talked to Jackson. Before take off a man (employee called on flight to handle the situation) came up to my row and asked the 2 men sitting next to me to get up. He then quietly asked me about “my rash” and if I had a letter from a doctor stating it was ok for me to fly. I explained to him that it was called Ichthyosis and it was a genetic skin condition. He walked up to the front to talk to the crew. He apparently also googled it during that time. He came back and said he apologized but we wouldn’t be able to fly and we had to get off the plane. He helped me get my bags and Jackson. He talked to the pilot as we were getting off. The pilot seemed ok with it, but the flight attendant rudely said (without even acknowledging me) “well she doesn’t have a letter from a doctor, so...”
They also weren’t able to retrieve my checked luggage. The man helped me off the plane, got me a hotel and a new flight with a different airline. I had to make unexpected childcare arrangements for my daughter at home and I am having to get a ride to the store to get our lotions and some clothes for tomorrow. I have never been so humiliated in my life! I have emailed them and am waiting for a reply. Happy Rare Disease Day! Quit being ignorant and take the time to listen to people! I shouldn’t have to explain myself.”
Her story was featured in “Love What Matters” and in that listing, Flake said she and Jackson had been in Texas to visit with her military husband before his deployment. She said they had been apart for almost two months.
Flakes father, Terry Lee Smith, reached out to FOX Carolina Thursday night, hoping to get a response from the airline.
“My daughter is a sweet girl, military wife, and great mother... She was born with this condition and doesn't deserve this treatment,” Smith said.
FOX Carolina reached out to American Airlines and received this statement of apology from their communications team:
“Our goal at American Airlines is to create a welcoming environment for all of our customers. We sincerely apologize to Ms. Flake and her son for the experience they had yesterday, and our team has begun an investigation into the matter. Our Customer Relations team has already spoken to her directly and upgraded them on their flights.”
Smith said Friday afternoon that Flake and Jackson were able to get a flight on another airline and were headed home to South Carolina.