Jetstar offers voucher for pregnancy mistake

ELLE HUNT
Last updated 16:32 09/10/2012
Fairfax Australia

Kelsey Hughes wants an apology from the airline after a flight attendant, thinking she was pregnant, demanded a doctor's certificate to say she could fly. She wasn't pregnant.

A Jetstar staff member demanded a certificate from Kelsey Hughes so she could fly 'pregnant'. She is not
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ
NOT EXPECTING: A Jetstar staff member demanded a certificate from Kelsey Hughes so she could fly 'pregnant'. She is not.

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A passenger mistaken for pregnant by a Jetstar flight attendant has been offered a travel voucher to compensate her for her humiliation.

Kelsey Hughes, 21, of Rangiora, was about to board her flight to Christchurch from Wellington when a flight attendant demanded to see a medical certificate stating she was fit to fly with her pregnancy - despite her not expecting a baby.

"I was absolutely humiliated at the gate in front of god knows how many people.

"I was literally standing there with my mouth open."

Hughes was today contacted by a member of Jetstar's customer care team, who apologised for the "major lapse in judgement", and offered to send her a copy of the airline's pregnancy policy.

"She was all apologetic and said they were 100 per cent taking responsibility for what happened.

"But I said the pregnancy policy, for me, was completely irrelevant to me, because I'm not pregnant and I don't look like I'm pregnant."

Hughes was offered a travel voucher to the value of $100.

She  asked for a written apology from the flight attendant in question, and the representative said she would pass on her request to head office.

Hughes received a letter from Jetstar's manager of customer experience Michael Mirabito, in which he said the flight attendant was mortified about his gaffe.

"I can confirm that the staff member involved is very sorry for any embarrassment this has caused and didn't want to inflame the situation any further by discussing this again with you mid-flight.

"He feels terrible about this and feels for you as he can imagine the embarrassment and hurt this must have caused."

Hughes said she would accept the voucher, though she would have preferred to have the cost of her flight refunded as she had no plans to travel with Jetstar again.

"I've had a call from them, so I guess that's the main thing.

"There's not much that can be done about it now."

STOPPED AND HUMILIATED

Hughes was queuing to board her flight to Christchurch after a weekend in Wellington for the World of WearableArt show.

The flight attendant scanned her ticket and she moved on towards the plane. "Then he stopped and came over to me, holding up the whole queue, and said: ‘Excuse me, ma'am, do you have a medical certificate to fly?'

"I said: ‘A medical certificate? No, why?', and he said: ‘You need a medical certificate to fly with your pregnancy'."

Mortified, Hughes explained that she was not expecting. "He said: ‘Oh. Really? Oops. Sorry!', then just turned around and walked away. He just brushed it off as though it was a simple mistake that anyone could make."

Hughes said the attendant avoided her for the rest of the flight. "He couldn't even make eye contact with me. I was not impressed."

Under Jetstar policy, passengers who are more than 28 weeks pregnant are required to carry a letter from a doctor or midwife declaring them fit to fly.

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Hughes has a 15-month-old son and said, at 70 kilograms, she did not resemble a mother-to-be. "I don't look eight weeks pregnant, let alone 28 weeks. I would have had to have been huge."

Since August, two mothers-to-be have been bumped from Jetstar flights in separate incidents, despite having flown with the budget airline days earlier.

*Comments on this story have been closed.

- The Dominion Post

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