Cancer patient kicked off flight

Attention, Alaska Airlines: Cancer isn’t contagious.

Elizabeth Sedway, 51, of Granite Bay, Calif., was kicked off an Alaska Airlines flight from Hawaii this week after an airline employee insisted she needed a doctor’s note to fly.

She writes on Facebook that the airline became alarmed because she had a surgical mask on.

Today, we were at gate 8 ready to depart on Alaska Airlines for San Jose. An airline employee saw me seated in the handicap section of the boarding area. She asked me if I needed anything. The first time. I said no. The second time, O said, well I might need a bit of extra time to board, sometimes I feel weak.

Because I said the word weak, the Alaska Airlines employee called a doctor, she claimed was associated with the airlines. After we board the plane. An Alaska representative boarded the plane, and told us I could not fly without a note from a doctor stating that I was cleared to fly. The video is of us being removed from the plane.

(Video link)

The airline apologized yesterday and said things could have been handled differently. Sedway says she’ll donate the fare the airline refunded to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

According to the video, not a single passenger spoke up for her.

  • jon

    In my News feeds this article and the “flying from cancer” article previously posted got blurred a bit (my brain didn’t help much)…
    This headline ended up appearing over a YouTube video that had some one sky diving as the preview photo.

    Terrible way to treat your customers on the part of the air line. Though, I’m now thankful that airlines aren’t throwing people off of the plane while in flight for having cancer…

  • Jeff

    I’m not defending the airline (they weren’t very nice) but there are policies about not allowing people to fly if they might become distressed and cause a medical emergency especially on a long flight. She said she felt “weak” and I’d guess that was trip word and not that she had cancer.

  • Postal Customer

    “According to the video, not a single passenger spoke up for her.”

    Is that fact supposed to be meaningful?

    • Jeff C.

      I think it means people are so worried about getting kicked off a flight for stupid reasons that they are too afraid to be decent people and point out to the airline that they are being stupid.

  • Matt K

    I’m not necessarily defending the airline’s actions, but from a certain point of view doesn’t the airline have an interest in not transporting someone hours across the ocean who could experience a medical emergency? That of course is something for a physician to determine, not a flight attendant. An emergency landing incurs huge cost and great disruption to air traffic across the country, I can understand the desire to avoid that situation.