Mother and son kicked off plane for her skin condition: 'I have never been so humiliated in my life'

American Airlines apologised to South Carolina mother Jordan Flake for removing her and her son from a plane over their skin condition. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Words: Elise Solé

American Airlines refunded a family’s plane tickets and apologised for kicking them off a flight for their rare skin disorder.

South Carolina mum Jordan Flake wrote on Facebook that she and her son Jackson were removed from a Thursday flight from El Paso, Texas, to Dallas, Texas because the flight crew was worried about her skin.

Flake has a genetic skin condition called Ichthyosis, which dries out the skin. (She didn’t say whether her son is afflicted.)

“While I’d like to share something positive, Jackson and I were just discriminated against…big time!” Flake wrote on Facebook.

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After seating themselves on the plane, an employee asked the two men sitting next to Flake, to stand. “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,” wrote Flake.

She explained her condition to the man, who conversed with the flight crew and did an internet search for more information.

When he returned, wrote Flake, he apologetically stated that she and her son would have to leave. “The pilot seemed ok with it,” she wrote. “But the flight attendant rudely said (without even acknowledging me) ‘Well, she doesn’t have a letter from a doctor, so…'”

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Flake said employees could not return her checked luggage, although she was provided a hotel and a new flight with a different carrier.

“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!”

“Happy Rare Disease Day!” Flake wrote of the annual February 28 observance to raise awareness for unique health conditions. “Quit being ignorant and take the time to listen to people! I shouldn’t have to explain myself.”

Flake spoke highly of the employee with whom she interacted. “He was very helpful and mad about the situation,” she wrote. “He tried advocating for me!”

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The airline told Yahoo Lifestyle, “Our goal at American Airlines is to create a welcoming environment for all of our customers.  We sincerely apologise to Ms. Flake and her son for the experience they had yesterday, 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 flights. We will also be refunding the cost of her trip as well.”

Flake didn’t respond to Yahoo Lifestyle‘s attempts at contact.

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