Jordan Flake and her son Jackson were on their way from El Paso, Texas to Dallas, Texas when they were kicked off their flight because of their Ichthyosis diagnosis. They were on their way to see Chris Flake, husband and father, before his military deployment.
Ichthyosis is a rare genetic condition which affects the skin. Patients may have scaly, dry, or unusually thick skin over most or all of their body. Many patients also experience redness and itchiness. In severe cases, the condition can cause skin abrasions, ectropion, blocked bores, and impaired mobility.
Unfortunately, there are no current treatments for Ichthyosis. Therapies focus on easing the effects of symptoms by using lotions, salves, or oral Vitamin A.
When Jordan and Jackson (who is just one year old) boarded their American Airlines flight, nothing seemed askew. Their fellow passengers admired Jackson, smiling and talking to the adorable child. But after they were seated, an airline employee came up to their seats and asked the two other passengers in their row to move out of the way. The employee then approached Jordan and asked about her “rash.” He further inquired if she had a doctor’s note on her saying that she was allowed to fly.
So, Jordan explained the condition she and her child have. Ichthyosis, a rare, genetic, skin condition. The employee then left, googled the condition, returned, and informed Jordan that she needed to get off the airplane and take another flight. He apologized, helped her remove her bags, book another flight (on a different carrier), and get a hotel for the night. Jordan was humiliated.
Here’s the thing: it’s understandable, and beneficial, that airlines take precautions when it comes to contagious illnesses. Passengers are in close quarters for hours at a time, and one singular passenger with a contagious health condition can be a concern for everyone on the aircraft. However, Jordan and her son’s condition is not contagious. It is a genetic condition which affects no one but themselves. There is absolutely no reason why they should have been kicked off their flight.
What is even more striking is that the airline employee googled the condition and somehow still found that it warranted their removal from the aircraft. Appalling.
Jordan had to get a last-minute babysitter for her daughter who was still at home and go buy extra clothes and lotions for their additional night. Her father reached out to Fox Carolina, hoping that they would get a response from American Airlines.
The airline did provide a statement, in essence apologizing to Ms. Flake and her son, and affirming their commitment to creating a welcoming and positive environment for all of their customers. They say that they have begun an investigation of the incident and have already reached out to Jordan and upgraded her flights.
Jordan sums up her experience-
“Happy Rare Disease Day! Quit being ignorant and take the time to listen to people! I shouldn’t have to explain myself.”
You can read more about this story here.