Woman with cystic fibrosis claims EasyJet employee 'discriminated' against her over medical bag
One woman says she’ll never fly with EasyJet again after an employee reportedly “discriminated” against her over her medical bag containing medication and equipment for her cystic fibrosis treatment.
Reps for the carrier have since told Fox News that they have apologized to the woman for the upsetting ordeal and are now investigating the incident.
On Aug. 5, Janeil Jaggers Whitworth was traveling from Prague to Venice on EasyJet flight EUJ3382 when a male employee with the airline questioned why she was trying to board the flight with two pieces of luggage — a personal backpack and Hillrom Vest bag with medication for cystic fibrosis treatment, she wrote on Facebook.
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“The gentleman told me one bag would have to fit in another (which wasn’t possible), so that I only had one bag. I explained again this was medical equipment and medication and needed to be on board with me,” the woman wrote online. “He responded that if I had two bags, I would have to pay for the extra bag.”
Whitworth said she showed the EasyJet employee the carrier’s medical information policy on her cellphone, which details that passengers are allowed to travel with necessary personal medical equipment.
Nevertheless, Whitworth claims the man “dismissed” her and insisted she needed to purchase another bag, rejecting the offer to see her doctor’s note. Whitworth said she then realized the man “assumed I wasn’t being honest with him.”
“At this point, I told him it can’t be checked because if my Vest bag was lost, I would quickly end up in the hospital,” she went on.
Eventually, the EasyJet worker allowed her to board the plane without charging her a bag fee, but sent Whitworth’s backpack into hold under the plane. Ultimately, she was allowed to board with her medical bag.
After finally finding her seat on the plane, one of Whitworth’s companions pointed out that the EasyJet employee perhaps didn’t believe her “because I don’t look stereotypically sick. I look young and healthy,” the woman wrote online.
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“I have an ‘invisible illness.' I have 56% lung function and cystic fibrosis related diabetes,” Whitworth continued. “I take over 60 pills a day easily and spend 2-plus hours completing airway clearance a day, every single day.”
“This employee was 100 percent discriminating against me because on the outside I don’t look like someone who needs an entire carry on packed with medications or devices and he demanded I pay extra to check a bag that contains medications and equipment I need on a daily basis,” she said. “He was charging me extra to fly with Easyjet strictly because I am sick. That’s ILLEGAL.”
“It doesn’t feel good for someone to demand you be treated unfairly because you are sick or have a disability. It’s unacceptable that this Easyjet employee wouldn’t know the company policy pertaining to medical bags, refused to see proof that I was being honest, and made assumptions and judgements based on my physical appearance,” Whitworth concluded. “It’s wrong and I won’t be giving my business to them again.”
When contacted for comment, a spokesperson for EasyJet told Fox News they are aware how important it is for customers traveling with medical equipment to be able to keep it, which is why they allow customers to carry medical equipment in the cabin free of charge when accompanied by a medical certificate.
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“We have contacted Ms. Whitworth to apologize for her experience at Prague airport as she was incorrectly asked to check in her handbag into the hold,” they continued. “This is not in line with our policy and so we are investigating this with our ground handling agents.”
“The wellbeing of our customers and crew is our highest priority,” the official finished.
As per the carrier’s medical information policy, passengers who need to travel with “a large piece of equipment or a large number of supplies” are advised to contact the airline in advance to coordinate accommodations. It is also requested that passengers bring a doctor’s note for any medication.