A 72-year-old woman was kicked off an Air Transat flight after she requested for a barf bag from a flight attendant before the plane took off from Athens, Greece. Anna Stratakos was traveling to Toronto on July 12 when the incident took place, CBC News reported.
“You don’t know what happened to me that day, what I’ve been through,” the grandmother, who cried while retelling her story, told CBC.
According to Stratakos, she felt a little light-headed following a long taxi ride to the airport and as a precaution asked the flight attendant for the barf bag. However, the flight crew incorrectly assumed she was sick and asked her to get off the plane.
“I’m not vomiting, nothing,” Stratakos said. “I said, ‘No no, I’m not sick.'” When she refused to leave, the crew called airport security to escort her off the plane.
After being removed from the plane, Stratakos was reportedly stranded at the airport until she paid about $800 to book the next Air Transat flight home through a travel agency. She told CBC she also paid more than $700 total on taxis to and from the city of Kalamata to stay with her family until her flight departed four days later.
In a statement to CBC, Air Transat said Stratakos indicated she was unwell and “exhibited symptoms of dizziness and nausea.” The flight captain followed the protocol in such cases and contacted Medlink, a medical service that provides airlines with passenger assessments by phone.
“Medlink assessed that Mrs. Stratakos was unable to safely complete the flight and advised us that it was best to disembark her,” Air Transat spokesperson Debbie Cabana said in an email to CBC.
According to Stratakos, she received no medical followup after she was removed from the flight.
Nearly two months after the incident, Stratakos’s son, George, sent a detailed email to Air Transat, complaining about the treatment and asking the airline to cover her flight home and taxi fares.
“I can’t imagine just being thrown off a plane,” George Stratakos reportedly said. “When we got home, she burst into tears. I mean, she was literally crying about the situation. She was embarrassed.”
It was only last week that George received an email response from the airline that included an apology for not replying sooner, CBC reported.
Air Transat said “given the inconveniences suffered by Mrs. Stratakos and any ensuing miscommunication that could have occurred.” The airline also said it will refund her return flight and taxi fares, if she provides receipts.
“I believe that Air Transat’s employees overreacted, and made overreaching decisions,” he wrote back to the airline.