Suffering from a seizure is traumatic enough as it is, but being punished by an airline for having one makes it even worse.
Paramedics on the plane told Stephens she was fine to fly from Gatwick to Greece, where she intended on traveling to attend a friend’s wedding, yet easyJet insisted she be removed from the plane.
“After having a seizure and feeling a bit silly anyway, I had to walk up the aisle and pack my books back into my rucksack, and my passport and everything,” Stephens said. “I felt like a naughty schoolgirl dismissed from class. I felt like I’d made a spectacle of myself.”
The 30-year old told the media that she wasn’t “drunk and rowdy” on the flight and she “just needed to sit there for a minute and go back to my seat.”
Stephens suggested that the easyJet staff listen to the needs of their customers with disabilities in the future.
“They didn’t listen to me. I think easyJet needs to be aware of how their staff handles disabilities, especially ones as common as epilepsy, and listen to their customers,” she said. “I’m a customer, I said I was fine. I’ll still make it in time for the wedding, but I was also looking forward to having a few days away and having a holiday.”
EasyJet confirmed to booting Stephens off the flight and automatically offered Stephens the next flight out to Greece. The airline also gave her an overnight accommodation.
“They instantly offered me the next flight, but it was 24-hours later, and they have given me a place to stay, so high-five to them for that, but actually I’d rather have been in Greece,” she said.
An easyJet spokesperson said, “The health and well-being of passengers is of paramount importance and easyJet will only allow passengers to travel if the gate staff, captain and crew are satisfied that they are fit to travel.”
Airlines such as easyJet need to be more mindful of the needs, wants and concerns of people with disabilities and treat them with the utmost respect.
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