COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — Members of a Columbus family said they were mistreated on a flight from Orlando to Indianapolis.
The issue: whether a teenager with epilepsy could fly safely. Allegiant Airlines said no and removed the family from the plane.
A spokesperson with Allegiant said the airline’s decision was to make sure passengers were safe after Halie Brumley had two seizures at an Orlando airport.
A spokeswoman from the airline said doctors couldn’t medically clear her.
“I thought it was all my fault because couldn’t get home because of me,” said Halie, who has had seizures since she was four years old.
“She could have them every day. She could have multiples a day. She could go five days without one,” explained Halie’s mom, Katrina.
Halie has embraced it as part of who she is. She is the reigning Indiana Miss Amazing for girls with disabilities.
However, her seizures posed a challenge on Thursday when she was trying to fly home after a trip to Disney World. She had a seizure in security and another on the plane during boarding.
Katrina said it took about 20 seconds for the medicine she always carries to take effect.
“I didn’t require any help from the flight attendant at all when she had it,” Katrina said, adding she believed if something happened while the plane was in the air, that she could handle it.
However, before the flight took off, Allegiant staff asked questions of Halie and Katrina. Ultimately the airline said its doctors felt Halie needed 90 minutes before she could safely fly.
“I expected they would help us wth the next one. And we were left standing at the gate,” said Katrina.
She said there were no more flights to Indianapolis that day, and they were worried their medicine for Halie could run out if they had to spend another night in Orlando.
“No concern of do you have enough medicines, is there anything she needs,” Katrina added.
Katrina used to work as a flight attendant.
“I’ve never seen anything like this at all,” she said about how she felt she and her daughter were treated.
The Brumleys said they were rushing home to be with Halie’s aunt, who’s in hospice care. They got on a flight to Louisville hours later with Allegiant, and Katrina said no one asked any questions about Halie when she got on.
She also said on their flight to Orlando on Allegiant, Halie had a seizure at the gate and no one raised any questions. She said they flew to Orlando without any problems.
Allegiant sent a statement to News 8 that explained why they took the steps they took and how passenger safety was of utmost importance.
“Today, passenger Halie Brumley, who had two seizures within an hour of her flight, was ultimately not allowed to travel on flight 2258 departing Sanford-Orlando International Airport at 6:14 a.m. local time. This decision was made by doctors from MedLink, Allegiant’s medical information service. The consulting physician stated that the passenger needed to be seizure-free for 90 minutes before she would be medically cleared to fly. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution and with our passengers’ safety in mind, as our flight crews are not equipped to adequately deal with medical emergencies in the air. After the passenger’s seizures subsided for two hours, she was re-accommodated and flew on another Allegiant flight today.
Our passengers’ well-being and safety is Allegiant’s top priority. That’s why, when passengers experience medical issues, Allegiant crews consult MedLink. Their doctors take critical medical decisions out of the flight crews’ hands.
A CRO is located at every airport. Allegiant employs corporate CROs who are available 24/7. However, this was a medical issue, not a disability complaint. That’s why MedLink was consulted. Sometimes, passengers with disabilities may experience acute medical episodes that preclude them from flying. Again, that’s why our crews consult Medlink, whose doctors then make that determination.