mjoelnir
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Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:40 pm

 
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airzim
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:53 pm

This is one of those sensationalist stories that are completely unfair to the airline and never get the full detail of the story.

I'm sure this could have been handled better (they should never have let her board in the first place), but there are no diversion opportunities from Hawaii to the mainland. The airline doesn't know her specific medical situation, and If she admitted to not feeling great, what if she had an incident in mid flight?

But filming this and throwing her condition around like this was the Spanish Inquisition, is great for TV. But had she had a serious incident, hours from medical personnel, and a diversion perhaps back to Hawaii, I think it is only fair that the airline wanted some medical approval before she could proceed.

It sounds harsh, but she's being very selfish.
 
Indy
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:57 pm

Quoting airzim (Reply 1):
It sounds harsh, but she's being very selfish.

Wow really? That is what you are going with? I was going to say what happened with Alaska is just typical of a generally crappy attitude the airlines have towards their customers. I am glad this went viral. It exposes airline management for what they are. And to make matters worse, the quality (sarcasm) management at Alaska didn't want to issue a refund for the tickets or anything. These are just bottom feeders that got exposed by the media. Let's not become apologists for people like that.
Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
 
PHX Flyer
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:08 pm

Quoting airzim (Reply 1):
I'm sure this could have been handled better (they should never have let her board in the first place

Nonsense. They should not have questioned her in the first place. Cancer patients travel by air for treatment all the time. If she states in a clear-mnded state that she feels fit to fly then she is fit to fly- it's as easy as that. Why don't you take it a step further and demand that all passengers requesting a wheelchair should by default be denied boarding.
"Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes forever skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return." -Leonardo Da Vinci
 
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airzim
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:13 pm

Quoting Indy (Reply 2):
Wow really? That is what you are going with? I was going to say what happened with Alaska is just typical of a generally crappy attitude the airlines have towards their customers. I am glad this went viral. It exposes airline management for what they are. And to make matters worse, the quality (sarcasm) management at Alaska didn't want to issue a refund for the tickets or anything. These are just bottom feeders that got exposed by the media. Let's not become apologists for people like that.

I'm going to parse out the AS management rant, and address the real issues.

The airline has a responsibility to all of it's passengers, ~160 in this case.

If someone appears to be ill, drunk, or a danger to the crew and passengers, the carrier has an obligation to remove that individual from the aircraft. Or better yet, not let them board at all.

Why? Because should something happen in flight, the plane must divert to the nearest suitable location to address the situation (medical, police, etc). Where are you going to divert between LIH and the West Coast?

Is the airline better off making the prudent decision to remove the passenger until they are feeling better/released by their physician, sober, or in police custody? The answer is always yes.

The fact that she has cancer, made a spectacle of herself, and timed her next chemo treatment close to her arrival back from Hawaii is her issue. Not Alaska's. What if AS cancelled her flight for some other reason? Is AS now liable for that too? The answer is of course no.

I'm sorry she's sick, I'm sorry she missed her flight, but to blame AS for this incident is unfair.
 
Kaiarahi
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:14 pm

Quoting Indy (Reply 2):
And to make matters worse, the quality (sarcasm) management at Alaska didn't want to issue a refund for the tickets or anything.

Can you read? They paid for accommodation, refunded the fare, flew them home on a later flight, and issued an unreserved apology.

The American Cancer Society advises patients to get clearance to fly from their doctor, as some can be affected by air pressure changes. There are no diversion airports between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.
Empty vessels make the most noise.
 
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airzim
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:22 pm

Quoting PHX Flyer (Reply 3):
Nonsense. They should not have questioned her in the first place. Cancer patients travel by air for treatment all the time. If she states in a clear-mnded state that she feels fit to fly then she is fit to fly- it's as easy as that.

Of course they should question her. For the very reasons stated above. Here's a quote from the article that clearly states she was examined by a physician who recommended that she not continue on the flight. What exactly do you think AS should have done differently?

"The flight attendant asked Sedway if she was OK, and the 51-year-old mother, travel writer and attorney admitted she might need some extra time to board because sometimes "I feel weak." The flight attendant called a doctor, she said, who issued the opinion that Sedway shouldn't fly.":

Quoting PHX Flyer (Reply 3):
Why don't you take it a step further and demand that all passengers requesting a wheelchair should by default be denied boarding.

Nonsensical rebuttal.
 
mjoelnir
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:23 pm

Quoting airzim (Reply 1):

They flu her and her family the next day without incident. What I find interesting and that why I started the thread was that the airline would not do anything for her, no hotel no refund for the tickets, until the story got out on facebook and the news and made for a bad press and that got them to react quickly.
 
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ssteve
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:28 pm

I don't see how Alaska has any excuse here. The contract of carriage says you can't be contagious, and you potentially need a doctor's note if you have a service animal. Nothing about anyone needing a doctor's note to prove themselves fit to fly, and really, what's the threshold? Who doesn't need a note? Do I need to get one the next time I look tired at boarding time?
 
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Tugger
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:30 pm

Quoting airzim (Reply 1):
(they should never have let her board in the first place).

Curious as to why you would say that? Are you suggesting that everyone be requires to provide a note from a doctor to confirm they are healthy to fly? Because that is what your statement amounts to because how is an airline supposed to otherwise knows if someone that is feeling a little poorly is OK to fly?

Quoting airzim (Reply 1):
and If she admitted to not feeling great,

One thing this incident has taught me is to always tell an FA/airline "I feel fine" if asked.

Tugg
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airzim
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:33 pm

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 7):
They flu her and her family the next day without incident. What I find interesting and that why I started the thread was that the airline would not do anything for her, no hotel no refund for the tickets, until the story got out on facebook and the news and made for a bad press and that got them to react quickly.

That is precisely the issue. I can't think in any other circumstance of illness, inebriation, or bad behavior, either before or at boarding, where the airline is 'responsible' for accommodation and/or refund of their ticket without a note from a physician. Never.

Why should she be treated differently? Because she made a video, carried on about her illness for all to hear, and sent this to social media. Then picked up by the news media of this "poor women wronged by corporate America?"
 
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Tugger
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:41 pm

Quoting airzim (Reply 4):
The fact that she has cancer, made a spectacle of herself, and timed her next chemo treatment close to her arrival back from Hawaii is her issue. Not Alaska's. What if AS cancelled her flight for some other reason? Is AS now liable for that too? The answer is of course no.

This is something that is within Alaska's control versus the other options you offered. And the airline is responsible for costs when it is something they control.

Quoting airzim (Reply 10):
That is precisely the issue. I can't think in any other circumstance of illness, inebriation, or bad behavior, either before or at boarding, where the airline is 'responsible' for accommodation and/or refund of their ticket without a note from a physician. Never.

Why should she be treated differently? Because she made a video, carried on about her illness for all to hear, and sent this to social media. Then picked up by the news media of this "poor women wronged by corporate America?"

Because if an airline or a doctor hired by the airline unduly cause a situation that affects a customer they need to take responsibility for their actions. There was no real reason to pull her from the flight, only a guess and suspicion, the passenger actually did not do anything wrong. And when that is the case the airline needs to step up and take responsibility.

Thanks goodness for social media! It may be a pain in the ass sometimes but it can also help and bring certain erroneous practices to light. I.e.: if I hadn't heard of this I wouldn't know how to properly respond to an FA inquiring about my health!   

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. - W. Shatner
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ssteve
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:41 pm

Quoting airzim (Reply 10):
Why should she be treated differently?

Because they kicked her off against her will for no good reason described in any policy of their own or law.
 
mjoelnir
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:42 pm

Quoting airzim (Reply 6):
Here's a quote from the article that clearly states she was examined by a physician who recommended that she not continue on the flight

The airline doctor did not examined her. The airline representative conferred with a medical professional by telephone.
 
Maverick623
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:50 pm

Quoting PHX Flyer (Reply 3):
Nonsense. They should not have questioned her in the first place.

That's nonsense. If someone doesn't look well, it is common courtesy to ask if they feel okay. It's also a requirement for an airline.

Quoting PHX Flyer (Reply 3):
Cancer patients travel by air for treatment all the time. If she states in a clear-mnded state that she feels fit to fly then she is fit to fly- it's as easy as that.

Sure. Why bother having doctors when people are 100% honest and knowledgeable about their health?

Quoting SSTeve (Reply 8):
I don't see how Alaska has any excuse here.

It's pretty simple, she showed signs of being unwell (which she is; she is going through chemo after all), and so they called a medical advice hotline (that assumes all liability arising from such calls), and were told not to board her without a doctor's note (which was provided, just not in time to catch her flight).

It literally happens every day. The only reason you heard about this is because this woman is apparently a lawyer and a blogger... the two types of people most likely to irrationally claim victimization.

Quoting SSTeve (Reply 8):
he contract of carriage says you can't be contagious, and you potentially need a doctor's note if you have a service animal. Nothing about anyone needing a doctor's note to prove themselves fit to fly

Absolutely false. Every airline has a clause in their contract (and in their OpsSpecs) that states if a person shows signs of being unfit to fly due to illness or other issues, that they may be required (at the advice of a medical advice hotline) to provide a doctor's note stating their fitness to fly.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
tp1040
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:39 pm

If they had to an emergency divert because of her, I would have understood. But in all honesty, I would have been irritated for letting her on the plane. This is not some case of suddenly having a surprise medical condition.

Tough call, but it seems that this lady has enough sense to know the travel business. She should have been prepared to deal with the issues. Chemo patients can be highly weakened, susceptible to infection and their bodies are stressed. It is not pleasant.

The crew certainly did not know what was wrong with her and her condition. All she said that she could get weak, she was wearing a mask for protection and headed for more chemo.

No win situation for the crew, but could have been better handled? Yes, by both parties.
 
bennett123
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:00 pm

Situation is that the airline can only take a decision based on the information to hand.

Suppose they boarded her, and her condition got worse en route.

In this, (not unlikely) situation, their options could be rather limited.
 
lawair
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:00 pm

Not condoning exactly how this situation was handled, but under 14 CFR 382.23(a), a carrier can require a medical certificate from a passenger "whose medical condition is such that there is reasonable doubt that the individual can complete the flight safely, without requiring extraordinary medical assistance during the flight." DOT's FAQs on this regulation say that extraordinary medical assistance is care that may require use of onboard emergency equipment, assistance from a medically trained passenger, or a delay/diversion. Although I don't really know the facts here, it's possible that AS has some wiggle room in requiring medical assurance that the passenger could complete the flight. It could be one of the very few circumstances in which they are allowed to require this.
 
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ssteve
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:23 pm

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 14):
Absolutely false. Every airline has a clause in their contract (and in their OpsSpecs) that states if a person shows signs of being unfit to fly due to illness or other issues, that they may be required (at the advice of a medical advice hotline) to provide a doctor's note stating their fitness to fly.

Alaska does not appear to state anything like that in their contract of carriage.

That said, perhaps they think the federal regulation above means they don't need it.
 
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Tugger
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:29 pm

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 14):
Sure. Why bother having doctors when people are 100% honest and knowledgeable about their health?

Of course! Which is why I now know to not give an airline any information regarding my health that may color their decision to allow my to fly.

Quoting lawair (Reply 17):
14 CFR 382.23(a), a carrier can require a medical certificate from a passenger "whose medical condition is such that there is reasonable doubt that the individual can complete the flight safely, without requiring extraordinary medical assistance during the flight."

So somehow the airline must become aware of said medical condition, the key is to either have a note or not give the airline any reason to suspect your condition.

Tugg
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lowbank
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:32 pm

Simple,
Ask her to sign a waiver that allows the aircraft to continue to its destination.

We sign these when we go to Motorsport events, it's dangerous and if you you get hit and killed by a flying car bike etc its your fault for being there. We sign it and accept it,
Every days a school day.
 
AR385
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:15 pm

I once was going into hipoglycemic shock in a flight between MDZ and AEP. I had time to call the FA. They moved me with another passenger, ordered her to WATCH over me, and brought some orange juice and sweets. But the Captain had to request priority for landing in AEP.

They actually asked me if I was feeling better or not, as if I was not, they would have diverted. A doctor on board also said I was ok to make it to AEP.

So I´m on the fence here. If you have a sick, ill passenger and before boarding they say they are not feeling ok, and you have a long, 5 hr. overwater flight, I can understand AS position.

The issue might have been, apparently, how they handled it afterwards. As when they de-boarded them. I´d like to see how this plays out.
 
JetBlueGuy2006
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:24 pm

This is an interesting story...I was on a WN flight last Sunday, and as we were over Georgia, a guy 5-6 rows up was having issues. Turned out there was an EMT and nurse onboard, I thought they would divert to ATL, but from what I could make out from the conversations between the lead FA and the EMT, it seemed like he had a blood sugar issue. They had him on the floor and eventually got him back in his seat and the EMT continued to check on him prior to arrival at RSW where the flight was met by other first responders.

I can see both sides of this. Should the passenger had made such a big deal and grandstanded, no; but AS could have approached the situation a little bit better, by maybe asking her to step off the a/c into the jet way and answering the questions they had and maybe be checked out and made sure it wasn't anything more than fatigue.
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CX Flyboy
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:34 pm

If my crew approach me to tell me there is a passenger who appears to be unwell we have a procedure to follow. We get medical help to assess them. Crew are not qualified and passengers are not qualified either, they simply want to get to where they're going. A doctor will be sought or, Medlink will be called. They take responsibility for their decisions and as a Captain I am not going to override their advice unless it is flight safety related. If I cannot get confirmation that the passenger is fit to fly then there is zero question, they get offloaded. It's as simple as that.

I dare say Alaska Airlines did nothing wrong and followed their procedure. As others have said, perhaps the passenger should have been questioned before they boarded but airport staff are known for wanting to pass the buck onto the crew and board questionable passengers.

If this case happened at another airline, it is highly likely the outcome would have been the same. Having read this article and knowing about this incident does not change the way I do things and if this happens the next time I fly, the outcome will also be the same.

The philosophy is simple, if there is doubt, seek a qualified opinion. We don't take a risk on health, even if it leads to a delay for the aircraft or the passenger.
 
global1
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:51 pm

Gee, DL was crucified on here recently with "Alaska Employee Buys Delta Passenger Ticket Home".

Now it's "Alaska Kicks Cancer Patient and Family Off Flight".

The moral here is that employees of ALL airlines are capable of, and often do, come through with stellar acts of customer service as well as make mistakes.

[Edited 2015-04-08 17:29:52]
 
sparky35805
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:15 am

I flew American on a HSV-DFW roundtrip in 2008 while on chemo.I had a pack with the chemo and a pump that I wore around my neck,attached to a port in my chest by a tube.I had a letter from my oncologist,but was never asked for it.The only problem I had was on the return leg with security at DFW.She didnt want to here of any letter,but I finally got on after she consulted with her supervisor.
 
L-188
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:40 am

Quoting airzim (Reply 1):
This is one of those sensationalist stories that are completely unfair to the airline and never get the full detail of the story.

I've see four of five stories about this.

Quoting Indy (Reply 2):
And to make matters worse, the quality (sarcasm) management at Alaska didn't want to issue a refund for the tickets or anything. These are just bottom feeders that got exposed by the media. Let's not become apologists for people like that.

Cheep ass accountants. Hopefully the publicity costs them more

Quoting lawair (Reply 17):
but under 14 CFR 382.23(a), a carrier can require a medical certificate from a passenger "whose medical condition is such that there is reasonable doubt that the individual can complete the flight safely, without requiring extraordinary medical assistance during the flight."

And that is why you should never disclose jack squack to an airline like that, Unless you requires something like O2, which you can't hide.

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 13):
she not continue on the flight
The airline doctor did not examined her. The airline representative conferred with a medical professional by telephone

The airline make a call to their medical consulant, there was no exam, no conversation between the consultant and the patient. I suggest that there may be a cause of action there.

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 7):

They flu her and her family the next day without incident. What I find interesting and that why I started the thread was that the airline would not do anything for her, no hotel no refund for the tickets, until the story got out on facebook and the news and made for a bad press and that got them to react quickly.

And not to mention that Alaska flew her south from Anchorage for the start of her vacation.

Again, only disclose what you need absolutely have to. That is where she made her mistake.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
PlanesNTrains
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:53 am

Quoting Tugger (Reply 19):
Of course! Which is why I now know to not give an airline any information regarding my health that may color their decision to allow my to fly.

Yes, because it'd be better to force a diversion for an entire flight than it would be to be inconvenienced yourself.

Quoting Lowbank (Reply 20):
Simple,
Ask her to sign a waiver that allows the aircraft to continue to its destination.

We sign these when we go to Motorsport events, it's dangerous and if you you get hit and killed by a flying car bike etc its your fault for being there. We sign it and accept it,


The waiver isn't the issue. It's the reality of someone putting themselves at risk as well as potentially delaying EVERYONE's trip and also costing the airline a lot of money due to diverting.

Quoting L-188 (Reply 26):
The airline make a call to their medical consulant, there was no exam, no conversation between the consultant and the patient. I suggest that there may be a cause of action there.

I guess I don't understand the mindset. If YOU as an individual are sick/not well, why should I have to jump through hoops, put you in touch with a doctor, put you up in a hotel, pay for your trip, etc. when all YOU had to do was to travel when you feel better OR get a note from your doctor telling me that you're ok to fly?

Why does there need to be "action"?

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MAX’d out on MAX threads. If you are starting a thread, and it’s about the MAX - stop. There’s already a thread that covers it.
 
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airportugal310
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:02 am

Quoting mjoelnir (Reply 7):
They flu her and her family the next day without incident.
Quoting Kaiarahi (Reply 5):
Can you read? They paid for accommodation, refunded the fare, flew them home on a later flight, and issued an unreserved apology.

Can YOU read? AS didn't fly her home because HA did...

"But she was not allowed to reboard, so she and her family, including her two sons, spent the night in Maui. She is expected to fly out from Hawaiian Airlines later on Tuesday, expecting to arrive in San Jose by 7 p.m. She said the delay will cause her to miss her chemo appointment this week - something that's never happened before."

Quoting cx flyboy (Reply 23):
If this case happened at another airline, it is highly likely the outcome would have been the same.

Nope, apparently not. See above quote from the second article
“They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.”
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:06 am

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 28):
Quoting cx flyboy (Reply 23):
If this case happened at another airline, it is highly likely the outcome would have been the same.

Nope, apparently not. See above quote from the second article

Your quote implies that the thing that has never happened is that she missed her chemo, not that passengers are offloaded due to medical reasons which happens all the time....so much so that it is a non-event for the staff members involved (although obviously an event for the passenger).
 
jetblue1965
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:11 am

Since when is "cancer patient" entitled to be treated better than others ? What's next, people playing the HIV card ?
 
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airportugal310
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:12 am

Quoting cx flyboy (Reply 29):
Your quote implies that the thing that has never happened is that she missed her chemo, not that passengers are offloaded due to medical reasons which happens all the time....so much so that it is a non-event for the staff members involved (although obviously an event for the passenger).

Ah I see what you're saying. And I would agree
“They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.”
 
HPRamper
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:54 am

Quoting Tugger (Reply 11):
Because if an airline or a doctor hired by the airline unduly cause a situation that affects a customer they need to take responsibility for their actions.

The doctor was not "hired by" the airline. Airlines generally don't just have doctors on staff waiting around to screw people over. And correct me if I'm wrong, but a doctor giving advice over the phone isn't the one "causing" the problem.

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 14):
It literally happens every day. The only reason you heard about this is because this woman is apparently a lawyer and a blogger... the two types of people most likely to irrationally claim victimization.

        

Quoting Tugger (Reply 19):
So somehow the airline must become aware of said medical condition, the key is to either have a note or not give the airline any reason to suspect your condition.
Quoting L-188 (Reply 26):
And that is why you should never disclose jack squack to an airline like that, Unless you requires something like O2, which you can't hide.

Or, you know, you could be honest and sensible and not act like an entitled American. Follow the regulations - it's in the CFRs. Bring a note. It's not that hard, really, I promise. Flying would be a lot more pleasant for everyone if every third person didn't think they were somehow above the rules and got "outraged" because they weren't given preferential treatment.
 
col
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:55 am

This lady was fine to travel. She said she might need more time boarding and was wearing a mask. She probably told them why. Most airlines would have said, "wise move". But instead AS contacted a "Medical Advice Hotline", who apparently take all liability from such calls who advised them she needed to be travelling with a note from her Doctor. I imagine the manual the Medical hotline use is a couple of lines:

"If called for any symptom - Request Doctor note/letter."

What this lady seems to have done is contact her Oncologist who said that if she felt well enough, then fly. Any Oncologist globally would tell you the same thing, unless you were extremely sick. Her Doctor knew her condition and from his knowledge believed she was the best person to make that decision. Remember Oncologists work hard to battle cancer with you, they will not allow you to do something that will destroy their work or your health. Their time is better served helping people than having to write a letter for every flight a patient goes on.

AS now understand the errors in their procedure, have apologized and will correct them. They have agreed to cover the costs and hopefully no damage is done in regards to treatment delay and AS image.
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:14 am

Quoting col (Reply 33):
But instead AS contacted a "Medical Advice Hotline", who apparently take all liability from such calls who advised them she needed to be travelling with a note from her Doctor.

I am sure that most crew members would rather follow procedure especially if it passes liability onto a third party. No point risking your job over something like this unless the company has specific procedures for the crew member to allow certain cases with no liability to them or the airline.
 
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EA CO AS
Posts: 15587
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:20 am

A good, non-sensationalist read for any who are interested in what occurred:

http://blog.alaskaair.com/2015/04/08/note-to-customers/#more-2273

Some additional background; AS and just about every other U.S. carrier contracts with MedAire, a company in Tempe, for their "MedLink" service. The airline is directly connected with physicians at their command center in a Level 1 Trauma Center (John C. Lincoln hospital in Phoenix) for both inflight medical assessments, and pre-flight medical assessments if the customer appears too ill to travel. If there's a concern for the customer's safety, procedures at all carriers would be to participate in an interactive process between the patient, the airline, and MedLink's physicians to determine their fitness to fly. The doctors at MedLink then make their recommendation, and if that's to deny boarding until the passenger's own physician has determined they're fit to travel, the airline will generally take that route out of an abundance of caution for the customer's well-being.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
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ssteve
Posts: 1382
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:26 am

Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 27):
I guess I don't understand the mindset. If YOU as an individual are sick/not well, why should I have to jump through hoops, put you in touch with a doctor, put you up in a hotel, pay for your trip, etc. when all YOU had to do was to travel when you feel better OR get a note from your doctor telling me that you're ok to fly?

The mindset is that because you're perfectly fit to fly, you get to fly.

Only in some insular airline industry bizarro world is it appropriate to think that staff going out of their way to inconvenience someone without any actual-- as opposed to perceived-- cause to do so is appropriate because:
1. The person really should have known industry procedure better and anticipated this sort of crap
2. The procedure we follow is more important than the issue the procedure is supposed to address, so regardless of the flawed outcome of the procedure, the fault lies with the customer for not anticipating it, even if we have never made the procedure explicit anywhere in our information for travelers.
 
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Francoflier
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:27 am

Quoting PHX Flyer (Reply 3):
If she states in a clear-mnded state that she feels fit to fly then she is fit to fly- it's as easy as that.

Except if something happens to her on the flight or, God forbids, she dies during the flight, then no matter what she said of her living, the airline finds itself in a perfect legal sh#tstorm. Not to mention having to pay for the medical diversion.
I don't blame airlines for trying to protect themselves against pax who want to fly at all cost even when they really shouldn't.

I've seen pax offloaded for a simple fever or diarrhea.

Of course, in the case of a poor lady like her suffering from cancer, it has the potential to go viral and emotional.

It's a case of Damned if you do, Damned if you don't...
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
AR385
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:39 am

Thank you EA CO AS

My question is if there is any liability for MedLink if they determine the patient is fit to fly, after the AS staff has called them with concerns and then the patient expires in flight?
 
L-188
Posts: 29881
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:56 am

Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 27):
I guess I don't understand the mindset. If YOU as an individual are sick/not well, why should I have to jump through hoops, put you in touch with a doctor, put you up in a hotel, pay for your trip, etc. when all YOU had to do was to travel when you feel better OR get a note from your doctor telling me that you're ok to fly?

Why does there need to be "action"?

I was referring to legal case against Medlink.

And I am not the only person that thinks that if they are giving medical advice without seeing the pt, the possibility exists.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 38):
My question is if there is any liability for MedLink if they determine the patient is fit to fly, after the AS staff has called them with concerns and then the patient expires in flight?
Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 35):
A good, non-sensationalist read for any who are interested in what occurred:

http://blog.alaskaair.com/2015/04/08...-2273

but hardly unbiased since it comes from their public relations people
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
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seahawk
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:59 am

I would blame her doctor. His information was quite soft.
 
BeachBoy
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:05 am

RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:16 am

I'm a physician and I think Alaska Airlines did the right thing here.

A cancer patient informed them that she was feeling "weak." The differential diagnosis for the symptom of "weak" is long. For example, it could have been a sign of a new onset infection which may have caused her condition to deteriorate over the next 5 hrs. Because the Alaska employees at the airport are not medical personnel and the MedLink physician on the phone cannot examine her, it was the safe and right thing to do to offload her until she was evaluated by a physician. I think the threshold for the MedLink physician was probably much lower for a flight across the Pacific vs. one up or down the West Coast.

I also question the patient's credibility because of the big deal she made about missing her chemo appointment. I'm sure she was able to get it the very next day. Even if she missed it for a few days it would have had minimal impact on her overall treatment and prognosis.
 
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ssteve
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:47 am

Quoting BeachBoy (Reply 41):

A cancer patient informed them that she was feeling "weak."

"them" was not a physician and she was not complaining of symptoms directly to you, doc. If she had talked directly with a physician, all points indicate she'd have been cleared to fly because "weak" was not a new symptom. Instead the airline rep called someone, and could have said she looked ghastly ill and ready to collapse for all we know.
 
BeachBoy
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:07 am

Quoting SSTeve (Reply 42):
"them" was not a physician

Exactly my point. Which is why the Alaska employee did the right thing by calling a MedLink physician who then recommended she be offloaded and EXAMINED by a physician because like I said, feeling "weak" can be a sign of bad things to come . . . Had the "them" been a physician then I would say based on what I have read that Alaska was definitely in the wrong for offloading her.
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:15 am

Medlink will have been consulted and denied her based on the obtainable information. The point is this. When travelling with any medical related issues go and get a MEDA clearance from the operating airline prior to travel. A letter from your doctor/specialist and any special requirements like Oxygen/CPAP etc and you are away and enjoying Honolulu as planned. A mountain out of a molehill. They could have handled it better yes (and they showed that by accommodating her) and she could have handled it better too.

Follow the protocol as the airline requires and you will be sorted.
Flown to 147 Airports in 62 Countries on 83 Operators and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
PlanesNTrains
Posts: 9526
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:19 pm

RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:19 am

Quoting col (Reply 33):
What this lady seems to have done is contact her Oncologist who said that if she felt well enough, then fly. Any Oncologist globally would tell you the same thing, unless you were extremely sick. Her Doctor knew her condition and from his knowledge believed she was the best person to make that decision. Remember Oncologists work hard to battle cancer with you, they will not allow you to do something that will destroy their work or your health. Their time is better served helping people than having to write a letter for every flight a patient goes on.

Yes, but Alaska Airlines doesn't employ Oncologists, they employee F/A's, Pilots, etc. Because they are not experts in every medical condition, and because of the unique nature of flying far from the nearest hospital/medical care facility, they must have a system in place to address any concerns that arise. That system was the service that they call for consultation.

As someone said before, if they woman had not said she was weak, we wouldn't be sitting here reading about this. However, because she said she was weak, someone at Alaska chose to use their consultation service for advice and the advice was to off-load her.

It isn't going to be a perfect system. It's unfortunate that she was delayed, but the airlines deal with these things (amongst many other situations with passengers) every single day. They don't know this person, what her real condition is, etc. All they know is that she appears ill, says she's going through cancer treatment, and feels weak. So they do a consult and are advised accordingly.

Also, I don't think it's that difficult to get a letter from a doctor allowing them to travel. If you are going to be flying transpacific, I'd imagine it would be understandable for an airline to request it if deemed necessary.

Quoting SSTeve (Reply 36):
The mindset is that because you're perfectly fit to fly, you get to fly.

Who get's to decide? The person who is wearing an O2 mask, heading for chemo, and saying she's "weak" when asked her condition? The airline employee who must make a judgment call about someone's physical state? Or perhaps either a note from their doctor or a pass from the medical consultants used by the airline?

I think we are expecting airlines to accept a lot of responsibility, cost, and inconvenience when they should have an avenue to address their own concerns in such a situation. Personally, if someone was put onto my flight in a fragile condition and then we had to divert to get them medical assistance, I'd probably be a little peeved that someone didn't ask some questions or address their medical concerns with a professional first.

-Dave
-Dave


MAX’d out on MAX threads. If you are starting a thread, and it’s about the MAX - stop. There’s already a thread that covers it.
 
L-188
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:21 am

Quoting BeachBoy (Reply 43):
Which is why the Alaska employee did the right thing by calling a MedLink physician who then recommended she be offloaded and EXAMINED by a physician because like I said, feeling "weak" can be a sign of bad things to come . .

And how do we know the CSA with Alaska didn't exaggerate the description to their contractor.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
bennett123
Posts: 9209
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:49 am

RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:38 am

What I would disagree with is those who would keep quiet about their condition.

This is not a short hop.

The flight is medium length, with fewer obvious diverts.

Best to play safe.
 
PlanesNTrains
Posts: 9526
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:19 pm

RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:38 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 46):
And how do we know the CSA with Alaska didn't exaggerate the description to their contractor.

We don't, just like we don't know if the patient minimized her condition in order to fly.

-Dave
-Dave


MAX’d out on MAX threads. If you are starting a thread, and it’s about the MAX - stop. There’s already a thread that covers it.
 
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EA CO AS
Posts: 15587
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2001 8:54 am

RE: Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:43 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 46):
And how do we know the CSA with Alaska didn't exaggerate the description to their contractor.

No disrespect, but to what end would a CSA do that? Denying a passenger boarding - knowing the whole family is likely to deplane and need to be accommodated - only makes their job that much more difficult. Frankly, taking the easy way out would have been to look the other way and assume the customer would be ok. And that's not what happened here.

It's only because there was a very real concern for the customer's well-being that any of this took place.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group

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