Last updated: 01:34 PM ET, Tue July 14 2015

Scottish Teenager Deemed 'Too Pale' to Board Etihad Airways Flight

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | July 14, 2015

Scottish Teenager Deemed 'Too Pale' to Board Etihad Airways Flight

A Scottish family's summer vacation to the Maldives was nearly upended last week when Etihad Airways check-in staff at England's Manchester Airport deemed 14-year-old Grace Wain unfit to fly given her pale complexion.

"Grace was a bit tired and hot and bothered. She was cuddling into her mum in the line," her father Paul told the Daily Record. "One of the Etihad check-in girls then made the decision that she wasn't fit to fly based on the fact she was pale in colour and was leaning against her mum."

That's when airline staff requested a professional opinion.

"I told them, 'We live in Scotland.'" Paul told the Daily Record. "She is a redhead and she has a pale complexion. That's just the way she is."

Despite an airport paramedic giving Wain the green light to fly, the Etihad staff insisted that they needed to see a written note from a doctor. Miraculously, the Wains were able to get a hold of their doctor, who sent a note to Etihad staff that simply read "I know of no reason why this patient should not fly."

The note was enough for Etihad employees to allow Grace and her family to board. 

While Paul said he believed the ordeal was really the result of the flight being overbooked, an Etihad spokeswoman maintained that the girl's health was the airline's top priority, per the Daily Record:

"Staff were concerned about the wellbeing of a young passenger ahead of a lengthy flight. The team called for a medic who examined the child and requested a 'fit to fly' letter from a doctor, allowing the family to board. Our team on the ground continued to provide support ahead of the flight." 

To add insult to injury, the carrier then lost two of the family's suitcases. 

"Unfortunately, when the family arrived, some of their baggage was missing," the airline spokeswoman added. "The airline apologised and took all measures to find and deliver the baggage to the Wain family as soon as possible. Compensation in line with standard guidelines will be provided."

The family received their lost luggage late last week and aren't scheduled to return home until Sunday. Let's hope their return trip is far less eventful. 


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