Medic with life-threatening illness charged £660 to fly with vital kit
She can’t eat regular food and lost half her body weight to the condition
A third year with a life threatening illness is furious after British Airways demanded £700 for her to fly with crucial medical supplies.
Medic Stephanie Chin, 21, suffers from gastroparesis, which means she can only absorb food through a drip.
The Queen Mary student has lost nearly half her body weight from the illness, and even vomits after eating regular food.
This means Stephanie was forced to prepare 18 days’ worth of food and water only a recent trip to visit her family in Singapore.
But despite checking if British Airways charge extra for medical supplies, staff asked for £660 to allow her to carry the supplements on board.
Stephanie told the Evening Standard: “I had two suitcases containing both my holiday clothes and syringes, each weighing about 20kg and four containing all of my feeds for the trip and one box of fluids, each at about 15kg.
“I’m a bit of a worrier and I had called up BA five or six times before my flight to check that I could take my feeds with me.
“I got to the desk and the boy looked at his computer and claimed it didn’t say anywhere about my supplies. He told me I would have to pay for it.”
Stephanie, who was diagnosed with the life-threatening condition back in 2013, said a supervisor came over but was “scowling and really patronising”.
The Medical student added: “She said there was no way I’d be able to take my feeds without paying extra for them.
“She even said the staff I spoke to who told me I would be able to take them for free may have to be disciplined.
“After half an hour of trying to explain to them how I had informed their staff I would need to bring the feeds, we weren’t getting anywhere and I decided to pay.
“There was no way I could leave without the supplies.”
Stephanie admitted she was “really disappointed” with the customer service provided by British Airways.
She added: “I decided to leave the fluid box behind and fortunately, as I was flying business class, I had a three bag allowance. Without this, I would have had to pay £660 for four boxes.
“But I still had to pay £420 extra on top of my £3,000 return ticket. If I hadn’t had an extra bag allowance I would have had to pay £660.
“It’s not as if I was bringing a musical instrument of anything else for leisure purposes. This is essentially all of my food and drink for 18 days.
“The supervisor completely lacked sympathy. She just patronised me and didn’t really treat me like a human being.
“Having to leave the spare box made it feel like I was taking a risk.
British Airways refunded Stephanie for the extra baggage charges and offered her a £100 voucher for a future flight, but she is not happy with the compensation.
She said: “It’s a bit of a cop out really, I never really received a proper apology.
“I don’t really need the money and the voucher is unlikely to go far when I buy another £3,000 return ticket to Singapore.
“The refund and money just feels like it was to shut me up. It’s not put me off travelling but I will be using a different airline in the future.”
A spokesman for British Airways said: “We do not charge excess baggage for medical supplies but it must be pre-arranged.
“We are sorry for this misunderstanding. We refunded Ms Chin the full amount, as well as an offer of a £100 voucher.”