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".