Cancer-stricken baby and mum asked to get off flight because of "smell"

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How can we become a more compassionate society as a whole?

Only a mother of a child with cancer knows the absolute heartache experienced looking after her sick child. We know that cancer in kids is no joke. This is made even more devastating when we hear of stories such as one mum’s recent experience of flying with a sick baby. 

Her sick baby, in fact, has cancer. 

Mum Left Heartbroken, Shares Her Experience of Flying with a Sick Baby

Heartbroken while holding back her tears, the mother, holding her child Piki on her lap, pours out her disappointment towards Batik Air. The airline had reportedly refused the mum and her baby their flight back home to Medan, citing the baby’s smell as a reason. 

The mother took to Instagram to share her experience: 

“Why were we denied permission to take the flight? We had already boarded the plane. Instead, we were told to alight and interrogated. We were asked for a letter from the doctor – which we presented. But soon after, we were immediately called again, told to alight, and interrogated – again. 

“I know that my child is ill, that my child smells, but I want to go back home to Medan. Is my child really unable to fly? Is it wrong? Are there other ways I can fly?”

As the mum explains, she had all the necessary documentation in place for the flight that was essential to take her sick baby home. Did Piki not deserve to be flown home? 

Piki suffers from retinoblastoma, a type of eye cancer that affects the retina. This type of cancer is classified as malignant and very frequently affects children under five years old. In the video below, you can clearly see the extent to which his eye is affected and just how much he must be suffering. 

View this post on Instagram

Dear @batikair, can i ask you something? . Tadi pagi penumpang bernama Piki Ananda dan ibunya serta relawan kami @yuni_nail_art duduk di bangku 18 D,E,F dalam flight ID 6880 Jakarta-Medan,diminta turun oleh pramugari. Dengan alasan tidak boleh terbang, aroma Piki akan mengganggu penumpang lain. Pada saat itu, pesawat tidak banyak penumpang . Tiga penumpang ini dibawa ke dokter di ruang karantina di airport Soetta, Jakarta. Dokter mengijinkan layak terbang. Namun pihak Batik Air tetap tidak membolehkan terbang . Di kasir, mereka mengembalikan uang tiket setelah dipotong fee travel karena kami membeli tiket via travel. Seorang bapak dari pihak Batik marah. Kenapa hal ini terjadi lagi. Tiga penumpang ini tetap tidak boleh terbang . Sekarang mereka sedang perjalanan balik ke rumah singgah kami . Dear Batik Air, may i know what your best suggestion and solution? Semestinya kalian bisa bertanya satu demi satu pada penumpang lain, apakah benar terganggu aroma Piki? Lalu bagaimana kelak bila ada penumpang sama? Anak seorang tukang becak mau terbang pulang kampung, melihat bapaknya untuk saat-saat terakhir? Saya ingat pengalaman pribadi saya, ibu saya 82 tahun ditempatkan di bangku depan sesuai peraturan penerbangan. Ketika mau ke toilet yg kebetulan harus melewati business class, distop pramugari. “Ini toilet untuk business class. Harus tanya penumpang business class, apakah boleh,” . Saya persilakan. Saya yakin siapapun yg menghargai orangtua, akan boleh . Can you give us the solution, @batikair ? Saya senang terbang bersama Batik, nyaman. Namun sometimes i fee hopeless. Piki Ananda, kenapa nasibmu menyedihkan? Sudah kanker, ditolak naik pesawat. Why?

A post shared by Funnywati (@pempek_funny) on

The Full Sequence of Events, as Recounted on Instagram 

The following shows the full post, as quoted from the Instagram account:

Dear Batik Air, can I ask you something? This morning, a passenger named Piki Ananda, his mother and our volunteer @yuni_nail_art sat on seats 18 D, E, F on flight ID 6880 Jakarta-Medan. However, we were asked to alight the plane by flight attendants.

The main reason for being denied permission to fly was that Piki emitted a smell that could disturb other passengers. However, at the time, there weren’t many passengers aboard the plane.

These three passengers were taken to a doctor in the quarantine area at Soekarno Hatta airport, Jakarta. The doctor gave them permission to fly. However, Batik Air still denied them permission to take the flight.

At the cashier, they were refunded the price of the ticket after deducting the travel fee as they purchased the tickets via a travel agent. A man from Batik Air was visibly angry. “Why is this happening again?” These three passengers were still denied permission to fly.

They are currently traveling back to our temporary residence. 

Dear Batik Air, may i know what solutions you can recommend to resolve this incident? In actuality, you should be able to ask other passengers one by one whether they really feel disturbed by Piki’s smell or not. Would you do the same to another passenger in a similar situation if that passenger is the son of an electronic rickshaw driver  who wants to fly back home to visit his father one last time?

Not All Passengers Are Insensitive, Says the Post

The post continues to elaborate that not all passengers are selfish and insensitive:

I remember a personal experience of mine. My mum, who was 82-years-old, was placed in the front seat according to flight regulations. When she needed to use the restroom, which coincidentally needed her to pass through the business class section, she was stopped by flight attendants.

“This is the toilet for business class passengers. Please ask the business class passengers for permission to use the toilet.” 

Still, I was allowed to use the restroom. I am sure anyone who values their ​​parents would have been given permission.

Can you give us a solution to this matter, Batik Air? I like to fly with Batik Air, it’s safe and comfortable. However sometimes I feel hopeless.

Piki Ananda, why is your fate so sad? First to be struck by cancer, followed by the refusal to board a plane. Why?”

cancer baby deny flight intext 1 Cancer stricken baby and mum asked to get off flight because of "smell"

Accompanying the Instagram post is the full medical certificate which legally allows the baby to board the plane. | Image source: Instagram

Regulations Need to be Implemented, But…

As we all know, air travel does have some strict regulations that all passengers need to follow. These rules are made taking into account air pressure, oxygen levels, and aircraft turbulence which can risk causing health problems.

If travelling with a patient, unsurprisingly, airlines carriers will always need a doctor’s letter or medical certificate to confirm that the patient is stable and suitable to fly. But what is unfortunate is that, even though the letter has been obtained, why was Piki still denied permission to fly?

Cancer isn’t an infectious disease, which is one of the conditions that can lead to an airline denying someone permission to board a plane.

Until now theAsianparent hasn’t been able to obtain a response from the Batik Air in relation to this incident.

 

References: TAP Indonesia, Instagram

Also read:

Traveling with sick children

Travelling with a sick kid: One mum’s story and lessons learnt