Emirates apologises after kicking disabled teenager off flight

Emirates apologises after kicking disabled teenager off flight

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A disabled teenager and his family were kicked off an Emirates flight due to his epilepsy, despite having medical clearance to fly.


Emirates has apologised after a disabled teenager and his family were forced off a flight in Dubai, despite the boy having medical clearance to fly.


Eli, the son of the Euronews journalist Isabelle Kumar, had boarded a flight with his family on Wednesday from Dubai to Lyon, the final leg of a long-haul trip from New Zealand.


When the family asked for a seat adjacent to a vacant one in case he had a seizure, Emirates cabin crew asked to see his medical certificate.


The family presented the medical certificate and even got hold of Eli’s doctor in France on the phone to confirm he was able to fly.


However, Emirates staff refused to speak to the doctor and asked Eli to leave the plane.


Speaking to Euronews, Kumar said: “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.”


“It was the lack of humanity that we found really shocking. The staff were faced with a kid with severe disabilities, but they threatened to call the police if we didn’t get off, even though our bags were still on the plane,” she said.


Kumar says the incident had left her children distraught.



“Eli is very distressed, he can’t understand what is happening. My twins were in tears, they felt humiliated,” she said.


“We were just dumped in an airport, we had to battle to get a hotel and it was only after there was a Twitter storm that they suddenly started treating us correctly,” said Kumar.


The family was finally able to catch a flight to Geneva, followed by a transfer car to Lyon, but Kumar said the whole thing left them “demoralized and exhausted.”


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