Emirates Airline Under Fire For Treatment of Boy With Epilepsy

Published July 29th, 2018 - 01:26 GMT
An image posted by Eli's mother, Isabelle Kumar, for her family while at the airport after being kicked off the plane. (Twitter/@Isabelle kumar)
An image posted by Eli's mother, Isabelle Kumar, for her family while at the airport after being kicked off the plane. (Twitter/@Isabelle kumar)

A video for a disabled teenager and his family being forced to leave an Emirate Airline flight went viral among social media users during the past week.

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The video was first posted on Wednesday by the teenager’s mother, the Euronews journalist Isabelle Kumar, in which her son, 17-year-old Eli appeared traumatized in shock after the confusion caused by the Emirates staff while trying to remove the family who had a medical clearance for Eli to fly.

The family of Eli, who has an epilepsy, autism in addition to severe learning difficulties, were on a flight from Dubai to France coming from Australia where they faced pressure and were asked to leave the flight because of their son and his disability.

Despite the fact that Eli's family presented the medical clearance to flight attendants, the latter said it should be shown to ground staff. The family called Eli’s doctor in France to confirm he is able to fly, the Emirates staff refused to speak to him.

“We told Emirates every step of the way that Eli had epilepsy (and autism), but when we asked for a seat with a vacant seat next to it in case he had a seizure, they suddenly wanted to see the medical certificate.”

Following this, the family spent hours at the airport trying to reach an arrangement, the airline told them they will be able to travel on a flight to Geneva on Thursday.

“You face endless challenges having a kid with disabilities, and being treated with respect would help, but we never give up and this won’t stop us travelling as a family. I will think twice before travelling with Emirates though.”

The story was widely shared with most reactions condemning the cruel treatment from the Emirates Airline staff.

Meanwhile, an Emirates spokesperson said the airline was “very sorry for any distress and inconvenience caused to Ms Kumar and her family”.

“Such situations are unusually difficult for operational staff to assess, and they opted to act in the best interest of our passengers’ safety as well as on advice from our medical team.”

Consequently, the UK’s leading epilepsy charity, Epilepsy Action, also denounced the “distressing situation” that Eli was put in.

Social media users also had their share attacking the airline with its inhuman act toward Eli and his family.

On the other hand, opposed opinions were also there, blaming the family of the teenager for what happened with him.

Others thought the teenager should have never been allowed to fly.


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