Airline apologizes after woman with cancer kicked off flight

An airline has apologized to a Northern California woman with cancer who was kicked off a flight to San Jose after she didn't have a doctor's note to fly.

Elizabeth Sedway was leaving Hawaii with her family Monday and heading back to San Jose for a scheduled chemotherapy appointment to treat her multiple myeloma when she was removed from the Alaska Airlines flight because she didn't have a doctor's note clearing her to fly, she said.


Sedway filmed her ordeal as seated passengers watched her family gather their belongings and exit the plane.

"All these people are waiting and I am being removed as if I were a criminal or contagious because I have cancer; no note to fly," she said in the video. "Does anybody wonder how I got to Hawaii?"

Sedway told KPIX-TV it all started when she put on a surgical mask before her flight because she is susceptible to getting sick.

She said she was seated in the handicap section of the boarding area, when an airline employee asked her if she needed anything. She said no, but later told the employee, "Well I might need a bit of extra time to board, sometimes I feel weak."

Everything appeared to be going well up until she got onto the plane.

That's when the crew member called a doctor, and then an airline employee asked her to get off the flight.

"I am so heartbroken and disappointed," she said.

Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Halley Knigge said the airline "regrets the inconvenience" Sedway and her family went through.

The cost of the tickets was refunded, she said. The airline will also pay for the family's overnight accommodations in Hawaii.

"Our employee had the customer's well-being in mind when we sought the advice of trained medical professionals," Knigge said.

Sedway said her family plans to donate refunded airfare to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

"As with most unpleasant times, there are silver linings, if we're determined to find them," she said.

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