No amount of PR apologies or excuses can remedy this shameful mistake, Alaska Airlines.
Elizabeth Sedway waited to board a flight with her husband and two sons from Hawaii to California on Monday (April 6). She wrote on her Facebook that she had been wearing a surgical mask, and that an Alaska Airlines employee asked her if she needed anything. At first Sedway declined, but then she requested some extra time to board the flight because she sometimes felt weak.
Once they were on board, the 51-year-old, who has multiple myeloma, was told by another employee that she couldn’t fly without a note from a doctor clearing her for travel.
In the video Sedway posted of the incident, she can be heard talking to the employee and on the verge of tears as passengers look on. She apologizes to them for delaying their flight and one passenger responds, “God bless you.”
Sedway wrote that the “employee called a doctor she claimed was associated with the airline,” who apparently confirmed the previous statement about needing a note.
Sedway and her family were forced to find a hotel for the night, and Alaska Airlines “refused to pay for anything” at first, according to her.
Halley Knigge, spokeswoman for airline, sent this statement to The Washington Post:
“We regret the inconvenience Ms. Sedway experienced yesterday. Her family’s tickets have been refunded and we’ll cover the cost of her family’s overnight accommodations in Lihue. Our employee had the customer’s well-being in mind when we sought the advice of trained medical professionals.”
She added in another interview that the airline’s protocols are to ensure health and safety; the flight would be crossing “a prodigious body of water,” posing a risk.
“You never want to have a medical emergency while flying over water,” she said.
Thankfully, the Sedways were able to book a flight yesterday and make it back home.
“As with most unpleasant times, there are silver linings, if we’re determined to find them. Here, we plan to donate the airfare, to be refunded by Alaska Airlines, to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation — MMRF. Additionally, this airline will likely look at future events of this kind with increased wisdom and sensitivity,” Sedway wrote earlier today.
We here at THZ send our best wishes to Mrs. Sedway and her family.