A redheaded teenager in Scotland was told she was “too pale” to board a flight headed for the Maldives.
According to reports, Scottish teen Grace Wain, 14, was attempting to board a flight with her family to the Maldives, where they’d planned their dream vacation, when Etihad Airways staff suddenly denied her entry out of fear that her pale complexion meant she was sick and couldn’t travel.
“I told them, ‘We live in Scotland,” Grace’s father, Paul Wain, said. “She is a redhead and she has a pale complexion. That’s just the way she is.” Staff told the family that they needed to have a doctor's note before they could allow the teen to fly, despite the fact that an airport paramedic performed a check-up and confirmed that she was well and could board the flight.
Grace and her 11-year-old brother, Murray Wain, were reportedly reduced to tears as a result of the incident.
“I left the Royal Navy last year, after 29 years’ service, and I had kept back some of the money I got so we could have a fantastic holiday,” Paul said. “It is a once-in-a-lifetime event and someone was telling us we weren’t going anywhere. We just stared at each other in amazement that we were not getting on this holiday and then the kids started crying.”
Grace’s mother, Sheena Wain, said she and her husband were in disbelief throughout the entire ordeal.
“We have flown a lot as a family but we have never had this,” she said. "They were trying desperately to get people off that flight."
Finally, the family was able to board the plane just in time for takeoff after Sheena’s sister, Jean Jowers, helped them obtain a letter from the family’s doctor.
To make matters worse, the parents discovered after landing that their suitcases had gone missing — prompting them to once again involve Sheena’s sister and get them back.
“They kept saying when they get the bags they will send them out,” Jean said. "It’s not the point. It’s not like she has lost her bags in Dubai and can go to the mall to buy stuff.” The couple finally got their luggage back after three days.
An Etihad spokesperson subsequently responded to the ordeal, telling the Daily Record that staff members were “concerned about the wellbeing of a young passenger ahead of a lengthy flight.”
“The team called for a medic who examined the child and requested a ‘fit to fly’ letter from a doctor, allowing the family to board,” the spokesperson said. "Our team on the ground continued to provide support ahead of the flight.”
“Unfortunately, when the family arrived, some of their baggage was missing," the airline representative continued. "The airline apologised [sic] and took all measures to find and deliver the baggage to the Wain family as soon as possible. Compensation in line with standard guidelines will be provided.”