Stranded for a cut

Laura Bishop with her daughter Robyn.'Ref: JCMH 170613bishop 2
Laura Bishop with her daughter Robyn.'Ref: JCMH 170613bishop 2

A FAMILY was left stranded hundreds of miles from home after they were thrown off a flight because of a cut to their daughter’s face.

Laura Bishop, who is seven-and-a-half months pregnant, her partner John Maitland and their 19-month-old daughter Robyn had enjoyed a four-day holiday in Jersey earlier this month and were about to leave for home when Robyn fell and cut her cheek.

The family, who live in Stobhillgate, Morpeth, didn’t think it was serious so continued to the airport, but after boarding the easyJet plane to Newcastle, a stewardess noticed Robyn’s injury and they were escorted off.

They were told to re-book when they had a medical certificate to say Robyn was safe to fly.

But the next available flight was three days later and no help was offered to find accommodation or transport.

easyJet says the decision was taken in the best interests of the child as her injury could have got worse during the flight.

Miss Bishop said: “All the passengers were on board when the stewardess noticed the little one’s cut. She asked what had happened and I thought she was being sympathetic, but she went off to get the pilot, who asked if we had a medical certificate to say she was fit to fly.

“I told him we hadn’t seen a doctor because we didn’t think it was particularly serious and we were about to leave the hotel anyway. He then said he would have our bags removed from the plane and asked us to leave.

He said he had to think about the other passengers’ safety and that he couldn’t say if there was any more damage to Robyn’s face.

“I couldn’t believe it. I started crying and I was pleading with him, saying ‘this is ridiculous, we’re only going to Newcastle, it’s about an hour’s flight’, but he insisted that he wouldn’t fly us.

“We were taken off the plane and escorted back to the terminal and our bags were given back to us. We were told to re-book when we had a medical certificate, but the next flight was three days later.

“They refused to put us up in a hotel or give us transport. We were just stranded.”

A staff member from Servisair helped the family find a hotel and they hired a car.

“By the time we got to the hotel it was 6pm and Robyn was hungry, grumpy and tired — we all were,” said Miss Bishop.

“We took her to A&E first thing in the morning and we got a doctor’s certificate to say it was a minor facial injury and she was fit to fly.”

However, re-booking was not straight forward as there were no easyJet staff at the airport and the family had to deal with a call centre.

Miss Bishop says they were initially told that they had already flown home, then they were asked to fax a copy of the medical certificate and then that they would have to pay to re-book.

She says the issue has already cost the family around £600, not including phone calls to the airline.

“I would never fly with easyJet again,” she said.

“I feel that families, especially if they are travelling with young children, should be aware that they can do this to you. You can be left stranded. We were in Jersey, but it could easily have happened abroad.

“This has cost us a lot of money. We are not looking for compensation, just to get our money back.”

An easyJet spokeswoman said: “The safety and well-being of our passengers is always easyJet’s highest priority.

“The crew advised the family that they believed the injury could worsen in-flight due to the effect of the cabin pressure. As such, they requested that the passengers disembark to seek medical attention.

“We are in contact with the family directly to resolve their issue over the flights and reassure them that the actions of our crew were from concern for and in the best interest of the child.”