posted on Nov, 4 2014 @ 08:49 AM
Good morning all!
I didn't know where to place this post, so I figured this would be the most benign place to put it.
On 10/20/2014 I was physically removed from a United airlines flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Chicago O'hare. I was removed because i had a
petit mal seizure. I recently heard from the paralegal from the Epilepsy Foundation who in essence told me the incident was my fault. To save time, I
will cut and paste the letters. I am writing because my LAST step was to contact the media. I have only done this once in 2001 when my husband and I
were arrested in Washington DC for NO REASON, beaten up and then charged with assaulting a police officer......(I even wrote of my account here as I
was warning that this kind of action by the police would become more common....and it looks like I was correct).....nothing ever came of my report and
I suspect nothing will in this incident either....but I wanted to run it by ya'll.....kinda pick the "brain" of ATS about what else to do with
regard to this incident.....so here goes....
first the letter I sent to the customer service director for United at O'Hare:
First, let me once again thank you for taking the time out to speak with us on Tuesday evening when we returned from Puerto Rico. I know you probably
have a very stressful job and are very busy! After our experience on Monday in San Juan, it was refreshing to find someone helpful.
I will try to give as many details as I can. Let me start this off by stating that I have never felt so humiliated in my entire life. I felt like I
was a criminal the way I was pulled off that flight in front of hundreds of passengers.
When my husband originally booked the flights, he had to do it separately so we could use two $200.00 vouchers we had received in March 2014 when we
flew to Mexico. Because of this, he was unable to get us seats together when he book the flight. In the past, when this has happened to us, we
normally can either get the gate agent to switch it for us, or find passengers who will gladly trade seats so a husband and wife can sit together. The
agent in Chicago was able to get us seats across the aisle from one another on our flight to San Juan, PR..
On our fight home from Puerto Rico, my husband dropped me off at the airport so he could return our rental car. I checked in first and explained to
the agent that my husband and I would like to sit together. She stated she couldn’t do that at check in, but to check in at the gate and the person
there would try to switch our seats so we could sit together. I rarely tell anyone when I book or check in that I have a seizure disorder because I
rarely get them. Certain circumstances have to be met: I get over heated, I am ill or dehydrated or I get very upset, (i had a seizure when my father
My seat was 25A. I accidentally sat in 26A and when those people got there, I had to move up to where my seat was. A couple was already seated in the
middle and aisle seats. Inside the plane, the temperature was close to 100 degrees; especially as I was seated next to the window that was facing the
sun. I was beginning already to feel faint, but I knew that once the plane would take off, if I could just suffer through it, I may not get sick as
the air would begin to get cooler.
When I had to go to my “real” seat, I asked the man sitting in the aisle seat if he minded switching seats with me. He rudely told me no. So when
I sat down at the window, I told the couple next to me that I had a seizure disorder and that if I had one, they may have to help me or get a
stewardess. I was simply trying to warn them in case I DID have one as all the conditions were ripe for me to have one: It was very hot, I had been
suffering from an intestinal problem most of the trip and was dehydrated. The woman sitting next to me, who was obviously inebriated, started to tell
me how rude I was making demands and that she wouldn’t do a GD thing to help me because I was so rude, demanding and just who did I think I was, etc
etc. Now I am not shy, by any means, so I asked the woman why she was being s rude to me. She told me I didn’t say PLEASE when I asked for her help
were I to have a seizure. Basically, the woman would not stop badgering me. All this time, her husband kept telling her to calm down, to stop talking.
I also told her to just let it go, to please stop talking to me…..then she got even nastier and simply wouldn’t stop badgering me about how rude I
was and that she didm;t have to do a GD thing to help me. I then got very upset and , yes, I yelled at her to PLEAAE LEAVE ME ALONE…to PLEASE STOP
TALKING…..I was beginning to panic because I could feel a seizure coming on, (it is called an “aura” and most epileptics have them before a
seizure). The woman next to me then started yelling for a stewardess and told her that she didn’t feel safe with me on the plane. I TRIED to explain
to the lady, (she was blonde), that my husband was at the front of the plane (11A I believe) and to please get him as he knew what to do to help me. I
was very panicked, red in the face from the heat and was shaking by this time. The woman next to me said I was lying, I didn’t have a husband and
that she wanted me off the plane as she didn’t feel safe. Another stewardess came and she asked me to leave my seat and come with her. By this time
I was hyperventilating and crying. I had just had a petit mal seizure and I get REALLY scared when I come out of it. A petit mal seizure can last only
seconds and can be mistaken for ALL KINDS of things. I was roughly pulled from the aisle and the woman, (dark hair, maybe Puerto Rican as she spoke
Spanish) kept yelling at me to come with her and stop making a scene. I was crying for her to let me tell my husband. She would not help me find him
nor was she going to let me stop….”come with ME MA’AM…right now!!!” She was yelling at me. The ONLY reason my husband knew what was
happening was because I saw him and started to scream for him to help me. My HUSBAND has felt with me and my seizures for years…..even the really
bad Grand Mal ones where I completely go unconscious and start to convulse and stop breathing.
I cannot recall what happened after I got off the plane, (common after a seizure to forget what has happened at various times during the experience),
but my husband told me that the pilot stated he felt I was a “security risk” and wouldn’t let me fly. My husband also stated that the
stewardesses questioned him about my epilepsy and that he confirmed I had it. They asked why we didn’t get seats together and we told them what
happened. My husband was allowed to go into the plane to get my carry on, but we were stranded in Puerto Rico without having any of our luggage, which
held all of my medications.
I was HUMILIATED by this experience. NOT ONCE would the stewardesses go and get my husband. He would have been able to calm me down and after the
seizure, I would have simply slept. They never asked the woman who was yelling at me the entire time to calm down and be quiet.
The scariest thing of all is that had I been given the seat in 11A and my husband the one on 25A, he would have NEVER known I was removed from the
flight and I would have been left in San Juan, PR ALONE with no luggage, no medication and no money other than what I had in my wallet, (this trip was
for my birthday that my husband surprised me with). I would have probably freaked out and then been taken to a hospital…