American Airlines apologizes after SC woman, son with rare skin condition removed from flight

A Columbia, SC woman went to Facebook after she claims she and her young son were asked to...
A Columbia, SC woman went to Facebook after she claims she and her young son were asked to leave an American Airlines flight due to the appearance of their skin. (Source: Jordan Flake)
Updated: Mar. 4, 2019 at 5:47 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A Columbia woman went to Facebook after she claims she and her young son were asked to leave an American Airlines flight due to the rare skin condition they both share.

Jordan Flake posted on Feb. 28 that she and her 12-month-old son, Jackson, had boarded their American Airlines flight before an airline employee came over and asked about her skin condition.

A part of her post reads:

“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...’”

Jordan Flake, Facebook post on 2/28/2019

She was on the flight in Dallas after visiting her military husband, who is stationed in Texas. She hadn’t seen him in two months.

She said she did not have a doctor’s note for her or her son and the airline didn’t require one for her condition.

In addition to being asked to leave the flight, Flake says they weren't able to retrieve her already checked luggage, however, the employee did help her get a new flight home and a hotel room for the night.

"I have never been so humiliated in my life! I have emailed them and am waiting for a reply," her post continued. "Happy Rare Disease Day! Quit being ignorant and take the time to listen to people! I shouldn’t have to explain myself."

Today is #rarediseaseday ! While I’d like to share something positive, Jackson and I were just discriminated...

Posted by Jordan Flake on Thursday, February 28, 2019

According to the First Skin Foundation, ichthyosis “is a family of genetic skin disorders characterized by dry, scaling skin that may be thickened or very thin. The prefix ‘ichthy’ is taken from the Greek root for the word fish. Each year, more than 16,000 babies are born with some form of ichthyosis.”

The incident, Flake said, also happened on Rare Disease Day. Flake’s Facebook post was first featured on the website Love What Matters.

American Airlines, in a statement to WIS, apologized for the incident and says they have started an investigation on the matter:

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 Thursday, 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 American flights. We will also be refunding the cost of her trip as well.

American Airlines, 3/2/2019

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