Etihad Airline to refund ticket of Kenyan patient ejected from plane

Kenyan patient Epharus Wangari Ndumia stranded at JKIA after being rejected from plane. [David Gichuru/Standard]
Etihad Airways has said it will refund the ticket of a Kenyan patient who was ejected from one of their planes.

The airline, through their Guest Relations officer Zeinab Faytarouni, confirmed the same to The Standard.

Zeinab however maintained that if the patient Wangari Ndumia still wishes to travel with the airline, she has to be booked as a stretcher passenger.

"The ticket will be refunded as per the rules as no waiver would be applicable in her case," said Zeinab.

SEE ALSO :Etihad Airways: Why Kenyan patient was ejected from plane

Wangari, 25, was ejected from Etihad flight EY 642 on Sunday by the airline's officials who said she was not fit to travel.

The airline said though unfortunate, it was the appropriate way of handling the situation.

Zeinab said that Wangari Ndumia could not be allowed to fly at the time as ‘she was in so much pain’.

“Our staff called Medlink and informed them of Ms Wangari’s current condition and to a count of 1-10, Ms Wangari pain was at nine,” said Zeinab.

Zeinab said the pain, as evaluated by Medlink-which is the global health body responsible in handling inflight medical cases-was as a result of Wangari’s inability to bend her leg.

As a result, no other seat was suitable for her to stretch her leg.

“Ms Wangari requested to be sat in business class which was at a cost,” said Zeinab.

On Sunday, 25-year-old Wangari together with her sister Ann Ndumia were offloaded from Etihad Airways EY 642 enroute to New Delhi, India via Abu Dhabi that was set to depart at 2:15pm.

The ejection caused a commotion with Etihad Airways staff at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) with Ann claiming that even after boarding, and were waiting for a favourable seat to be found, they were still ejected from the plane.

Zeinab said Etihad staff had a challenge of transferring Wangari from the wheel chair to her seat, which initially she had been preassigned seats at row 20, and this forced the airline to swap them.

“Ms Ndumia couldn't seat comfortably at row six as it was difficult for her to bend her knee which was fitted with an Ilizarov apparatus therefore obstructing the pathway for other guests,” explained Zeinab.

One of the Ground staff at the airport was then tasked with standing next to her reminding the other passengers to be mindful of her leg as they boarded.

The Captain then requested for the medical approval letter which was handed to him and our team also decided to contact medlink for clearance as she was in a lot of pain and she was making alot of noise whenever she was being moved to her seat.

“At this time Medlink had declined to clear her resulting to total offload and the same was explained to the guest as why she was being offloaded,” she said.

By yesterday, Ann was still following up with the booking agent in a bid to get a refund in order to book with another airline.

Wangari is scheduled to undergo surgery at BLK Hospital India to repair multiple broken bones and on his left thigh and insertion of a prosthesis due to massive bone loss.

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