'Traumatic': airline wouldn't let Orange boy with cancer fly home for Easter

AN Orange boy with cancer did not make it home for Easter because Regional Express (Rex) airline put policy before humanity, according to Little Wings CEO Kevin Robinson. 

Little Wings is a charity that flies children from rural and regional areas to Sydney for medical treatment. If the charity can’t fit a child on its own plane it purchases tickets for the children and their carers on a commercial airline. 

The little boy was due to fly home with his mother on Good Friday morning but was unexpectedly unwell and had to have a transfusion, which meant he missed the morning flight to Orange. 

Little Wings had purchased the boy and his mother two Rex Saver tickets which meant, for a fee, the boy could have caught the next flight, but Rex told Little Wings the boy needed a medical certificate before it would allow him on the plane. 

“It is ridiculous, he is an outpatient so that means he doesn’t need a medical certificate to fly,” Mr Robinson said. 

“This is a most traumatic time for this kid and his family.”

A Rex spokeswoman said the ticket could have been changed up to 12 hours before the flight but Mr Robinson called the airline about three-and-a-half hours before the flight. 

She said Mr Robinson was told he could change the flight but only with a medical certificate and “Mr Robinson chose not to take up this option”. 

Mr Robinson said the boy never made it home and instead his father and his siblings made the trip to Sydney so the family could be together on Easter Sunday. 

“Rex have put their policy first and even though they have the option to put them on a later flight, Rex have decided the ticket will be forfeited and new tickets must be purchased,” he said.

“Even though we can provide a letter it’s not good enough, and it’s policy before community and helping a boy with cancer at Easter.”

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop