12 On Your Side: Pregnant woman kicked off flight despite doctor's note

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email
AirTran flight

Bethany Davis called AirTran to check on their policy concerning pregnant passengers before booking her flight to New York for her grandmother's funeral Saturday. (WRDW-TV / Oct. 20, 2011)

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- A pregnant woman is on bed rest and blames it on an airline after what she describes as a horrific experience.

Bethany Davis called AirTran to check on their policy concerning pregnant passengers before booking her flight to New York for her grandmother's funeral Saturday.

Davis who is eight months pregnant was told by AirTran she needed a doctor's note, within 72 hours of her flight, stating that she was cleared to fly.

Every airline has their own policy regarding pregnant passengers. For women over eight months pregnant, AirTran's policy is that you need a "....doctor's certification confirming the individual is physically fit for air travel. Such certification must be dated within 72 hours of the planned flight departure time."

Davis says she gave the note to the gate agent and was allowed to board the flight in Atlanta.

"I took the note to the lady and the gate and presented it to her and she thanked me for being proactive," Davis said.

She said a manager approached her on the plane as the flight attendant was going over safety and was forced to leave her seat and her family on the plane.

She says the manager called a company called Medlink. The man on the phone told her she couldn't fly and "that the airline would be financially and legally liable for my labor."

The mom-to-be says AirTran recommended another carrier. She also says they suggested she lie to the other carrier.

"They said if you want to make it to the funeral, the best thing to do is to tell them you're morbidly obese instead of pregnant," Davis said.

Davis spent $422 on a second flight with another carrier to get to New York.

She says the turbulence from a much smaller plane, combined with the stress of AirTran forcing her to deplane, caused her to go on strict bed rest when she returned home.

AirTran allowed Davis to fly back to Atlanta from New York after she provided them with a second doctor's note stating, again, that she was cleared to fly.

News 12 looked at both doctor's notes. The original one had a box checked for high risk pregnancy. The second note did not have that box checked. However, both clearly stated that Davis was clear to fly.

AirTran sent News 12 this statement: "When any customer approaches us and we have concerns about their ability to safely complete travel, it is AirTran’s policy to consult with Medlink, an agency that assists with medical needs of our customers. When the AirTran customer service agent received the doctor’s note, she called Medlink to clear the passenger for travel in accordance with AirTran’s policy. Due to reasons personal to this passenger, Medlink informed us that this passenger was not approved to travel. We are sorry for the inconvenience it caused to our passenger. We must follow the guidance provided by Medlink to ensure all customers are safe, healthy and comfortable when at 30,000 feet."

Davis says AirTran did not refund her money for her original flight to New York or the second flight she was forced to buy with another carrier.

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