People around the world have been getting removed from flights for the most bizarre and unimaginable reasons.
One woman, in particular, was recently removed from an Emirates flight en route to Dubai for discussing her menstrual pains with her boyfriend, The Independent reports.
Before the plane took off, 24-year-old Beth Evans was describing her cramping pain to her partner, Joshua Moran, telling him they were ranked at a “one out of 10.”
But when members of the flight crew overheard the conversation, they told Evans she wasn’t fit to fly because there was no doctor on board.
The couple was kicked off the aircraft and then forced to spend nearly $350 to book another Dubai-bound flight.
”To be kicked off for period pains, it was madness. Beth was in tears and getting upset when the hostess was asking her questions,” Moran, 26, said of the ordeal.
“It’s embarrassing to have to explain about period pains when it’s being overheard. They didn’t have anyone look her over. They just contacted a medical team in the U.S. and they said Beth couldn’t fly,” he added.
A spokesperson for Emirates responded on behalf of the airline with a slightly different take on how the incident unfolded.
“The passenger alerted crew that she was suffering from discomfort and pain and mentioned she was feeling unwell. The captain made the decision to request medical support and offload Ms. Evans so she could access medical assistance. We would not have wanted to endanger Ms. Evans by delaying medical help had she worsened during the flight,” the spokesperson said.
An independent travel expert named Frank Brehany weighed in, offering The Independent his perspective.
“Beth is, I suspect, just one of many millions of women who suffer with period pain, and in an ordinary environment, it generally allows for the sufferer to continue with their activity,” he said.
However, he also noted that because the situation occurred on a plane, the issue “potentially attracts different considerations.”
“In general terms, an airline can refuse to carry someone on their flight if they believe that there is a health risk,” he added. “There are many recommendations for passengers, encouraging them to consider their own health and whether they should seek pre-clearance, obtaining a ‘fit to fly’ certificate.”
Additionally, Brehany made the very valid argument that the airline could have avoided resorting to such a "drastic action" had they conducted a proper investigation.
Although the flight crew may have mishandled the situation, Brehany also pointed out that Evans may have a difficult time making a case for being unfairly denied boarding should she decide to take legal action.
“On the one hand, she is bound by the conditions of carriage, particularly in relation to health; in any dispute, the airline will no doubt seek access to her medical records to determine a medical history,” he said. “But if she can show that a poor inquiry was carried out at the time, then the argument for denied boarding becomes stronger as opposed to the airline’s reliance on their Ts & Cs (Terms and Conditions).”
The absurdity of it all is almost unfathomable. If every woman who experienced period pain was unable to board a plane, there would be some very empty aircrafts flying around the earth. Furthermore, what about female flight attendants or female pilots? Do they get to take off work during their menstruation because their cramps make them unfit to fly?
It's certainly not a bad thing for Emirates to prioritize their customers' health, but turning away someone for something as common and minor as this feels more discriminatory than thoughtful.
It would be no surprise if women now started censoring themselves discussing menstrual cramps out loud to avoid being treated like they have the plague.