The woman and her son have a rare, genetic skin condition called Ichthyosis

By Robyn Merrett
March 06, 2019 12:49 AM
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American Airlines is apologizing after a woman and her young child were kicked off a flight to South Carolina last Thursday because their rare, genetic skin condition caused concern amongst the crew.

Jordan Flake shared the heartbreaking story to Facebook on Feb. 28 writing, “Jackson and I were just discriminated against… big time!”

“We boarded our American Airlines flight where everyone smiled and talked to Jackson. Before take off a man (employee called on flight to handle the situation) came up to my row and asked the 2 men sitting next to me to get up,” Flake wrote.

“He then quietly asked me about ‘my rash’ and if I had a letter from a doctor stating it was ok for me to fly.”

Flake then went on to share that she and her son have Ichthyosis — a genetic skin disorder characterized by dry, scaling skin that may be thickened or very thin.

Each year over 16,000 babies are born with some form of Ichthyosis, according to First Skin Foundation.

“I explained to him that it was called Ichthyosis and it was a genetic skin condition. He walked up to the front to talk to the crew. He apparently googled it during that time. He came back and said he apologized but we wouldn’t be able to fly and we had to get off the plane.”

Jackson Flake

“He helped me get my bags and Jackson. He talked to the pilot as we were getting off. The pilot seemed ok with it, but the flight attendant rudely said (without even acknowledging me) ‘Well she doesn’t have a letter from a doctor, so…'”

Making matters even worse, Flake revealed the crew “weren’t able to retrieve my checked luggage.”

“The man helped me off the plane, got me a hotel and a new flight with a different airline. I had to make unexpected childcare arrangements for my daughter at home and I am having to get a ride to the store to get our lotions and some clothes for tomorrow. I have never been so humiliated in my life!”

Flake also shared her story on the website Love What Matters, explaining she was traveling back to her home in South Carolina after visiting her husband in Texas before his deployment.

Jordan Flake and her husband Chris Flake
| Credit: Courtesy Jordan Flake

“After being away from my husband for almost 2 months, I finally was able to go visit him for his 4-day pass before he deployed. My 12-month-old son and I flew to the town he was mobilizing out of. We had a great time until I had to drive him back and drop him off. Goodbyes are never easy, especially when it is for a long time and the future is never certain,” Flake shared.

American Airlines has since issued an apology to Flake, telling PEOPLE on Tuesday “Our goal at American Airlines is to create a welcoming environment for all of our customers.”

“We sincerely apologize to Ms. Flake and her son for the experience they had last Thursday, and our team has begun an investigation into the matter.”

“Our Customer Relations team has already spoken to her directly and upgraded them on their American flights. We also refunded the cost of their trip as well,” the airline added.