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  • Pregnant Mom Says She Was Not Allowed On A Plane After Airline Crew's 'Diagnosis'

    The mom and her 3-year-old daughter did make it to a flight nine hours later.
    by Rachel Perez .
Pregnant Mom Says She Was Not Allowed On A Plane After Airline Crew's 'Diagnosis'
  • Pregnant women and parents with children who travel are given special consideration, such as priority boarding and any assistance that might be needed. But that was not the case for her, according to pregnant mom Richelle Elisn-Gerong of Cagayan De Oro.

    “Wala kayong awa sa buntis na may dalang 3-year-old na bata!” Richelle angrily wrote on a post on Facebook, tagging AirAsia Airlines on her post dated February 23, 2020. “Pupunta ako ng Manila para magpa-doctor, ini-stress niyo ako ng bongga!” she added.

    Richelle, who is 11 weeks pregnant, said she was not allowed to board her 6 a.m flight to Manila on February 21. She and her daughter waited for nine hours before being allowed on a 2 p.m. flight.

    Addressing the airline, the preggo mom wrote, “I was at the airport from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., but you did not offer anything, [not] even water. I had to incur a lot of expenses because I had to stay there longer!”


    Speaking to SmartParenting.com.ph via Facebook Messenger, Richelle revealed she asked the airline supervisor if she could have a seat while they talk. “Wala siya in-offer na upuan, as in,” she said as she recalled sitting on the conveyor belt while waiting. 

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    So what happened? According to Richelle, before boarding the plane, she told a female ground crew member she needed assistance to help place her carry-on luggage in the plane’s overhead compartment. The ground crew asked her questions that led Richelle to mention she was traveling to Manila to take the Lymphocytes Antibody Test (LAT).

    Upon hearing the name of the test, the female ground crew “researched” the word "lymphocytes" and read they were cancer cells or cells that fight cancers. Richelle thought it might have scared the ground crew member because she was suddenly required to present a medical certificate attesting her “condition.”


    Richelle said she explained numerous times what are “lymphocytes” (components of white blood cells that help the body fight infection — everyone has them). A medical certification was not needed to travel because she was not a danger to other passengers. She clarified that LAT is a test, not a condition.

    As an airline supervisor passed through the airport entrance and check-in counters to approach the preggo mom, she declared — for everyone to hear, Richelle said — that she had “lymphocitis.” Richelle thought then it was “some sort of inflammation,” much to her frustration.

    “I felt discriminated because I have lymphocytes!” the preggo mom said. "It's embarrassing na paratangan ka nang ganun sa harap nang madaming tao," she added.

    Richelle did not make it on the plane. The preggo mama was only allowed to board a 2 p.m. flight after presenting a medical certificate from her reproductive immunologist, who sent it via a chat app. It noted that LAT is not a medical condition but a test and, therefore, Richelle did not have any contagious infection.

    Richelle had to request a medical certificate while at the airport, which her doctor sent via a chat app.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Richelle Elisn-Gerong
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    When Richelle continued to argue with the supervisor with his characterization of what she supposedly had, Richelle said the supervisor warned her he would “call a guard to take her away” or not allow her board the 2 p.m. flight to Manila.


    The experience led Richelle to file a blotter complaint at the police station inside the airport with the help of an airport official, Richelle said, who understood lymphocytes.

    Richelle filed a blotter report at the airport's police station.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Richelle Elisn-Gerong

    Richelle was scheduled to take the Lymphocytes Antibody Test in Manila at 8 a.m. on the same day of her February 21 flight. The LAT is a specialized test that laboratories run only on certain days. LAT is prescribed if a pregnant woman is suspected of having a reproductive-immune disorder (RID) due to recurring pregnancy losses.

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    Richelle has had three miscarriages. She had already tested negative for three out of five RID categories. The results of her LAT test would have confirmed if she was positive Category 1. (Click here to read more about the five categories of RIDs).

    Since her flight was delayed, Richelle was unable to take the test so she could present the results at her doctor’s appointment.

    “The results could have been my basis to undergo Lymphocytes Immunotherapy (LIT),” Richelle shared, referring to the treatment for RID Category 1 patients. She still underwent a LIT session, based on the assumption she would have low LAT numbers. LIT is not available in Mindanao, and it costs around Php21,000.

    Despite the preggo mom’s stressful weekend experience, the ultrasound showed her baby is doing well. “This pregnancy is the only one na nag-progress until 11 weeks and may heartbeat. I am praying hardly na tuloy na tuloy na,” she shared.


    “Di ko na mababalik ang Friday na yun. Super stressed ako that my doctor gave me meds para maka-relax ako,” she shared.

    “Naiiyak ako every time I remember ang napagdaanan ko especially pag naiiisip ko na kawawa kami ng anak ko that day.”

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    For her flight from Manila back to Cagayan De Oro, the preggo mama took the same airline but did not encounter any issues. She asked for help to carry her bags onto the X-ray machine. Airport personnel led her to a seat and called the porter, who then informed the lady at the check-in counter, “Buntis to ha.”

    At the check-in counter, Richelle was asked her how far along was her pregnancy and was handed an indemnity form to fill up and sign. “It’s as simple as that,” she said, adding the ground crew at the "Laguindingan Airport didn't follow a procedure." 

    On her flight back to Cagayan De Oro on the same airline, she was only asked to fill up and sing an indemnity form
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Richelle Elisn-Gerong

    The preggo mama shared the airline had gotten in touch with her, assuring her they are investigating the incident. They also asked her how come the ground crew knew about the term lymphocytes, and so she relayed her story.

    Richelle says she plans to pursue a case against the airline. She wants punishment for the supervisor who threatened to call a guard on her to take her away.

    Smart Parenting reached out to AirAsia on its social media pages but have not received a reply.  

    Are pregnant women allowed to fly? Click here to check what an airline policy says about it. 

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