Elizabeth Sedway, Cancer Patient, Kicked Off Alaska Airlines Flight

Cancer Patient Misses Chemo Appointment After Getting Kicked Off Flight

A California woman suffering from cancer said she and her family were kicked off an Alaska Airlines flight to San Jose from Hawaii on Monday when an airline worker insisted that she needed a doctor's note to fly.

As a result, Elizabeth Sedway missed her chemotherapy appointment on Tuesday.

Sedway, who suffers from multiple myeloma, wrote on Facebook that she had been waiting in the disabled section of the boarding area and wearing a surgical mask to protect herself from germs when an airline worker asked her if she needed help.

At first, Sedway said she did not. But when asked again, Sedway said she may need assistance as she sometimes gets weak.

"Because I said the word weak, the Alaska Airlines employee called a doctor she claimed was associated with the airlines," Sedway wrote on Facebook. "After we board the plane. An Alaska representative boarded the plane, and told us I could not fly without a note from a doctor stating that I was cleared to fly."

The video Sedway posted on Facebook shows her and her family being escorted off the plane.

Today, we were at gate 8 ready to depart on Alaska Airlines for San Jose. An airline employee saw me seated in the...

Posted by Elizabeth Sedway on Monday, April 6, 2015

"I'm being removed as if I'm a criminal or contagious because I have cancer, no note to fly," she said on the video. "My family is being forcibly removed from an airplane because I have cancer, no note to fly."

Sedway apologized to the other passengers on the flight for holding them up

"God bless you," one passenger can be heard saying.

Sedway told KTLA that she emailed her doctor during the exchange.

“He said … ‘if you feel fine you should be able to fly,'” Sedway told the station. But since he didn't specifically say she was cleared to fly, they took her off the plane.

Sedway said an airline worker told her they were concerned about flying over the ocean with a sick passenger.

The airline has issued an apology, which was cited by CBS San Francisco:

“We regret the inconvenience Ms. Sedway experienced yesterday and are very sorry for how the situation was handled. Her family’s tickets have been refunded and we will cover the cost of her family’s overnight accommodations in Lihue. While our employee had the customer’s well-being in mind, the situation could have been handled differently.”

Sedway wrote in the a Facebook update early Wednesday that she plans to donate the refund.

"As with most unpleasant times, there are silver linings, if we're determined to find them," she wrote. "Here, we plan to donate the airfare, to be refunded by Alaska Airlines, to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation – MMRF. Additionally, this airline will likely look at future events of this kind with increased wisdom and sensitivity."

Before You Go

American Airlines First Class Kit
See More of the Coolest Airline Amenity Kits

American Airlines provides first-class passengers with practical yet stylish kits by Eames, the American design group known for chic office spaces. The padded 8x10 bag is printed with the iconic Eames dot design—and doubles as a tablet case. What’s inside? Dermalogica skin products, including nail treatment and hand cream, a minty lip balm, a moist toilette, plus a microfiber cloth to clean your device’s screen before stowing it for landing.

Photo courtesy of American Airlines
Air France La Première Amenity Kit
See More of the Coolest Airline Amenity Kits

Jet-setters who book one of only four private suites on Air France’s new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft get to lounge on a 6.5-foot-long bed, swathed in merino wool blankets and cotton sleep suits. They’re also each gifted with a leather cosmetics bag by French brand Givenchy. It’s filled with Biologique Recherche products: face cream, anti-fatigue roll-on treatment for eyes, an eye mask, and an oshibori towel.

Photo courtesy of Air France
Air New Zealand Business Premier Class Kit
See More of the Coolest Airline Amenity Kits

Air New Zealand embraces its laid-back, quirky personality—evident in its viral in-flight safety videos and its latest amenity kit. This slim, gray felt pouch holds Clarins HydraQuench cream and lip balm as well as Pippi Longstocking–esque striped socks. The eye masks feature witty messages ranging from “Sleeping beauty” to “Are we there yet?” and “Beware, I sleep walk.”

Photo courtesy of Air New Zealand
British Airways Men’s and Women’s First
See More of the Coolest Airline Amenity Kits

The sturdy wash bags in British Airways’s first-class cabins are stuffed with high-end beauty products (Aromatherapy Associates for women, London-based groomers The Refinery for men). Inside the women’s dusty-rose case, you’ll also find deodorant, a cotton wool pad, and a brush with a mirror attachment. The men’s steel-blue bag holds a similar arsenal of amenities, with the addition of a razor blade, shave gel, and eye cream.

Photo courtesy of British Airways
Cathay Pacific First Class Female Travel Kit
See More of the Coolest Airline Amenity Kits

When Cathay Pacific refreshed its first-class suites in 2013, it also revamped the amenity kits. The women’s Trussardi bag resembles a clutch purse; unfold the four-sided clutch to reveal hand, lip, and face creams from the Australian all-natural cosmetic line Aesop. There’s also a wooden compact brush worth pocketing. For men, Cathay Pacific supplies an Ermenegildo Zegna pouch full of Acca Kappa products along with a comb.

Photo: Philip Friedman
Delta Business Elite Tumi Kits
See More of the Coolest Airline Amenity Kits

Luggage designer Tumi used its exclusive ballistic nylon for these amenity kits released in the winter of 2013. Malin+Goetz Neroli lotion and lip moisturizer and a Tumi eye mask are included in the sleek bag, as are a shoehorn and shoe polish—throwbacks to the golden age of air travel. The redesigned business-class experience doesn’t stop here: passengers feast on multi-course meals paired with wines by a James Beard–awarded sommelier and drift to sleep in Westin’s exclusive, hypoallergenic bedding.

Photo photo provided by Delta
Etihad Sougha Limited Edition Kits
See More of the Coolest Airline Amenity Kits

Kudos to Etihad for giving amenity kits to economy-class fliers as well as those in first and business—and for partnering with Sougha, a group that helps support local UAE artisans and traditions. As a result, the bags are woven with bedouin patterns and feature tassels. A small coral version is gifted in economy class. Inside the Diamond First Class bag is a set of exclusive products by the upscale perfumery Le Labo, while Pearl Business travelers pocket a few choice Korres products from Greece.

Photo: Philip Friedman

Popular in the Community


What's Hot