An airline stopped this little girl from flying because of a simple medical condition.

A Sydney family were forced to put their holiday on hold after they were stopped from flying because of a simple case of eczema — but Etihad Airways has described the incident as a “necessary medical delay”.

As Michael Anfield prepared to board a flight to London with his two children on Friday night, his two-year-old daughter broke out in a familiar rash which he knew could be easily treated with antihistamine.

On arrival at the Etihad Airways check-in counter however, he said he was told she would need to see a doctor, just hours before they were due to take off.


Michael's daughter's eczema flared up at the airport. Source: Supplied

"I was told I needed to take my daughter to a doctor and have her checked to determine that she would be fit to fly," Michael wrote in a Facebook post.

"It would have been impossible to get two kids and my luggage back to a doctor be seen and return in time for check in."

In fact Michael had taken both his children to see their family doctor earlier in the week to make sure they were safe to fly, which he explained to the Etihad Airways staff.

His daughter's eczema is commonly triggered by food allergies and occasionally stress, but she is never at risk of anaphylaxis, he explained to Mamamia.

"I produced a letter from my doctor saying that my daughter was fit to fly. My doctor also offered to speak to Etihad staff to explain my daughter's condition.

"A decision was made that we could not fly. The decision maker refused to talk to me or a trained health professional and did not even see my child."


The note provided by the family's doctor. Source: Supplied

Despite the note, he said staff proceeded to seek further advice by calling their internal medical line.

At no point was Michael allowed to speak with Etihad's medical advisors, instead receiving information second hand in an "ad hoc" manner, he said.

Michael's wife Belinda has been working in America for the past three weeks attending the Democratic National Convention.

The family had been looking forward to a planned airport reunion for months, arranging to meet in London.

"We planned this trip for over ten months, you just feel really disempowered," he said.

Michael described the airline's response as a "massive over reaction".


A series of photos of his daughter show that the initial flare up, which occurred at around 6.30pm had begun to settle down by 8.00pm.

Michael's daughter on the way home. Source: Supplied

By the time they walked through the door of their family home around 15 minutes later, after missing their flight, the photos show it was almost gone.


By the time they walked in the door of their house, the rash was almost invisible. Source: Supplied.

"By the time we got home and she had nothing on her face, it had completely died down," Michael said, describing the experience as "surreal" and "really unpleasant".

"You can see it happening to you but you can’t believe it’s happening."

Michael said Etihad Airways had "no regard" for his or his doctor's authority or the family's plans and has since lodged a formal complaint with the airline but has yet to receive an official response.


They were planning to board another flight on Saturday evening.

"As a parent you get this feeling as if there’s a bunch of people who know far less about the situation than you who are making a call on your family’s behalf and you feel completely powerless... It’s just a massive overreaction," he said.

"I was dreading the flight. Two kids on a flight is tough and then to have this happen, it really is unbelievable.

Mamamia has obtained a statement from Etihad regarding the incident. The airline issued the same statement on Twitter in response to former NSW premier Kristina Keneally when she posted this article.

An Etihad spokesperson confirmed the two-year-old was "denied boarding at Sydney due to an undetermined rash on her face."

"This action was taken for the wellbeing of the guest, based on the recommendation of Medlink, the medical advisory service used by the airline," the statement said.

"Etihad Airways assisted the guests with their new travel arrangements and the guests resumed their journey the following day once all medical clearance was given.

"Etihad Airways takes the safety and wellbeing of its guests extremely seriously and regrets any inconvenience which may have been experienced by the guests concerned as a result of this necessary medical delay."