COLUMBIA, S.C. (CBS Local) — A South Carolina woman says she and her child were booted from an American Airlines flight because of their rare, genetic skin condition.
Jordan Flake of Columbia says she was traveling back to her home state Thursday after visiting her military husband in Texas when an airline employee asked about her “rash,” referring to the inflamed skin caused by her disorder.
After asking nearby passengers to move, the employee “quietly asked me about ‘my rash’ and if I had a letter from a doctor stating it was OK for me to fly,” Flake wrote on Facebook. “I explained to him that it was called ichthyosis and it was a genetic skin condition.”
He then ordered Flake and her 12-month-old son, Jackson, to leave the plane, which was about to take off in El Paso for a flight to Dallas.
“I have never felt more aware and embarrassed about my skin, or the condition I share with my son,” Flake wrote. “I should never feel ashamed of myself for the way I was born.”
American Airlines later apologized to Flake for the incident, put her in first class for the flight home, and refunded the cost of her trip, a spokesman for the company told MarketWatch.
“Our goal at American Airlines is to create a welcoming environment for all of our customers,” the company said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize to Ms. Flake and her son for the experience they had Thursday, and our team has begun an investigation into the matter.”
Ichthyosis is a family of genetic skin disorders characterized by dry, scaly skin, according to FIRST, a foundation for Ichthyosis and other skin diseases. Ichthyosis occurs worldwide and affects people of all races, ages, and gender. Ichthyosis is not contagious.