My pregnant wife was denied boarding onto flight

Reader’s wife is only seven weeks pregnant, but airline refuses to board her

Gulf News

I had booked a flydubai ticket for my wife and made an arrangement for a wheelchair, as she is seven weeks pregnant. Although she is fit and fine, just to be on safe side, I requested a wheelchair at the time of booking, which was done over the phone. I confirmed with the customer service executive if the passenger needed to carry a letter from the doctor or not. I got a firm ‘no’ as a reply to my question. Now, when the passenger went to the airport, she was denied boarding, as she wasn’t carrying a letter from her doctor.

Please note that the passenger travelling is my wife and I am much more concerned about her than flydubai. Even the airline’s website clearly says that passengers pregnant up to their 27th week can travel. I paid more than a Dh1,000 for this ticket and because of this, she had to take another flight by paying another Dh1,000 the next morning.

Now, flydubai has come back to say that the passenger said she was 28 weeks pregnant, which is a clear lie. Why would a passenger say she is in her 28th week, when she is only seven weeks pregnant? She was also carrying a report where it said she was seven weeks pregnant, but the report was 10 days old and flydubai did not accept it for this reason.

From Mr Mohammad Taqhi Al Deen, Dubai

The management of flydubai responds:

The team has looked into the case and fed back the findings for your reference.

This case is related to denied boarding.

Please note that while travelling with flydubai to or from Dubai, passengers who are pregnant are only allowed to travel until 35th week of pregnancy. After the end of 35th week, passengers will not be allowed to travel to/from Dubai. This is in case of single birth.

If passenger is expecting a multiple birth, such as twins or triplets, passenger can fly with us up to the end of 32 weeks of pregnancy. If they’re planning a return flight with us, it must be before this.

Summary of the case is as follows:

Passenger was travelling from Jeddah to Dubai and was accompanied by her father and upon arriving to the check-in counter, the passenger and father requested a wheelchair. Upon being questioned the reason of requesting wheelchair, the father concluded that his daughter is 28 weeks pregnant, due to which, the passenger was referred to airport clinic to receive clearance and fit to travel certificate.

The medical clinic at the airport considered the passenger ‘unfit to travel’ after medical observation. The same information was conveyed to the passenger.

Passenger’s husband forwarded us medical certificate dated October 21, 2014, which states that the passenger is nine weeks pregnant, which was noted after the flight departure date of October 17, 2014.

Passenger was not allowed to travel since airport medical clinic considered her unfit to travel.

Also the passenger booked wheelchair by calling our call centre and they inquired about wheelchair and policy was briefed.

The case was investigated with the station and the medical report was provided by station.

Passenger’s husband claimed a refund for the same and was refused based on the station’s feedback. The case was closed.

Kindly note that our station manager followed procedure based on the examination and advice of the medical clinic. The safety of our passengers is our main priority and we adhere to the conditions of carriage that ensures highest standard of safety precautions is practiced at all times.

Mr Taqhi Al Deen responds:

I wonder why my father-in-law would say that his daughter is 28 weeks pregnant when she was just nine weeks along? My wife herself knew how far along she was, so this information that she was 28 weeks pregnant is completely baseless.

As mentioned, I did go to the doctor and produced a certificate which declared her to be nine weeks pregnant, upon her arrival in Dubai in the next available flight.

Flydubai is saying that she was referred to the airport medical clinic, and they examined her — what did they do to declare her unfit?

Airport clinics are not well equipped to examine a pregnant woman. They produced a report from the airport clinic and mentioned on it that she had abdominal pain, which is neither signed by the passenger nor my father-in-law, so how do I believe that report?

Please note that the passenger is my wife, and was pregnant, so for me, her health is of prime importance — more so than for flydubai and I wouldn’t have let her fly had she been unfit. I booked her on the next available flight and she came to Dubai safe and sound. She was fit and well within the required number of weeks to fly without a medical report, as per flydubai rules and regulations and considering this, I should be refunded the ticket money.

The management of flydubai responds:

Any decision taken by our airport staff is based on the doctor’s detailed report and recommendation.

flydubai‎acted upon the clear Terms and Conditions of carriage and we have nothing more to add regarding this case. Thank you for taking the time to follow up and we remain at your disposal for any assistance.

(Process initiation: January 5. Response from organisation: January 6. Process completion: February 2.)

Editor’s note: Do you have similar issues that you would like to raise with us? You can write to us at readers@gulfnews.com.

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