“I felt humiliated”: Mother and son set off because of skin condition

“I felt humiliated,” says Jordan Flake, who wanted to travel from El Paso to the city of Dallas with American Airlines but had to leave the plane with her son just before takeoff. The reason? One of the stewards feared that the chronic skin disease suffered by the mother and her eyeball was contagious. “I explained that there was no risk of infection, but he did not believe me,” says Flake.

“My husband is a soldier with the US Army and often on a mission abroad. Last week he was on training in El Paso. I had not seen him in two months. I paid him a visit together with our son. On Thursday it was, unfortunately, time to return home. When we boarded the plane, one of the stewards spoke to me. He asked me what ‘the strange spots’ were on our faces. I told him that my son and I have ichthyosis,” the woman says to the American newspaper ‘The Washington Post.’

Ichthyosis is a non-contagious chronic skin disorder in which the upper part of the skin, the horny layer, is thicker than usual. The skin is therefore very dry and scaly. To date, no healing solution has been found for this genetic skin disease. The treatment consists of supportive medication and creams to combat the itching.


“I explained to the man that there was no risk of contamination for the other passengers. He did not believe me and demanded a medical certificate. Unfortunately, I did not have that with me. After all, nobody ever asked me to show that,” says Flake. The woman suggested contacting her attending physician, but the steward sought information via Google. “He spoke to the pilot and the other personnel on board and then said that we had to leave the plane for safety reasons.”

Mother and son set off because of skin condition: I felt humiliated
Jackson has had ichthyosis since birth.

Flake, who eventually traveled to Dallas with another airline, is not impressed with the way she and her son were treated by the man. “I felt humiliated. The other passengers stared at us when we had to disembark. I want to apologize to the American Airlines and demand that the airline tickets be refunded,” says the disgruntled mother.

An American Airlines spokesperson said to ‘The Washington Post’ that the management regretted the incident. “We want to apologize to Mrs. Flake and are currently investigating the incident,” she says.

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