EASYJET have apologised after a member of staff tried to force a cystic fibrosis sufferer to pay to check in her life-saving medical equipment.
The airline is investigating why the shocking demand was made when it allows passengers with serious medical conditions to take two bags into the cabin free of charge.
But Janeil Jaggers Whitworth, who needs to use the medical equipment every two hours, was initially told she would have to pay £50 to put one of the bags in the hold.
Staff at Vaclav Havel Airport, Prague, even refused to budge when Janeil, 28, offered to produce documentary evidence of her condition.
She and husband, Peter, eventually flew to Venice when Easyjet staff agreed to let her medical bag in the cabin and her other bag go free of charge in the hold.
Easyjet today admitted both bags should have gone in the cabin without charge. One outraged social media user ranted: “”In my opinion, the airline employees should be advocates not a** holes.”
Janiel, from Cleveland, Ohio, complained on social media: “Cystic fibrosis is an invisible illness.
“I have 56% lung function and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. I take over 60 pills a day easily and spend 2+ hours completing airway clearance a day, every single day. I spent 5 weeks on home IV antibiotics just to prepare for this trip […]
“This employee was 100% discriminating against me because: a) on the outside I don’t look like someone who needs an entire carry on packed with medications or devices and b) he demanded I pay extra to check a bag that contains medications and equipment I need on a daily basis.”
Megan Jarzab responded online: “Unreal. Terrible that you had to go through this Janeil. Thank you for your transparency on this issue – hopefully draws enough attention to easyjet so they address this.”
Kate Carter added: “I sure hope she reports this b- – -ard and gets him fired. This is just despicable. I know how I am about my carry on bags WITHOUT any issues. I wish I could do something…beside never flying with Easyjet!”
Nancy Jo Schaffer Walfish said: “Absolutely unacceptable. And illegal. Needs to stop. Shame on that person!”
Speaking of the experience today, Janeil said: “I felt like he assumed I was lying because I don’t look ‘sick’.
“My hope is they would address the discrimination within the company by providing some kind of updated training on the medical bag policy and especially sensitivity training highlighting invisible illness.
“There needs to be some kind of a process so that it doesn’t get that far for someone else.”
An Easyjet spokeswoman said: “We know how important it is for customers travelling with medical equipment to be able to keep it with them which is why we allow customers to carry medical equipment in the cabin free of charge in addition to their cabin bag allowance, when accompanied by a medical certificate.
“We have contacted Ms Whitworth to apologise for her experience at Prague airport as she was incorrectly asked to check in her handbag into the hold.”
“This is not in line with our policy and so we are investigating this with our ground handling agents. The wellbeing of our customers and crew is our highest priority.”
Cystic Fibrosis is a serious genetic disorder that affects many parts of the body, but mainly the lungs. It causes mucus to build up internally resulting in breathing difficulties and problems with digestion.