Epilepsy Travel

EasyJet, Were You Right?

There has been many posts across social media, with mixed emotions regarding the safety for both a passenger and epilepsy in general. These emotions emerged when articles reported that the passenger was asked to leave a plane due to a seizure. I have been contacted over the past couple of days regarding my views about this event. Before I go any further, I would like everyone to understand that I do agree with what readers have been saying in terms of epilepsy education – there needs to be more awareness surrounding epilepsy. And of course I agree with this, I’m an epilepsy advocate after all. But with this in mind, I’d like to express my views on this matter.

When reading these articles across social media, I sat down with my partner and for the first time in a while, I actually sided with EasyJet. Why? Take away the frustration of epilepsy and let’s realise that EasyJet took this lady out of the situation and was offered accommodation as well as another flight for the following day. There was no “throwing her off the plane” the airline pretty much took care of her in a way that they could. All I could see when reading these articles was a genuine team following guidelines and making sure their passenger was in the best environment and was most importantly safe.

Following guidelines? Every company, including airlines, have an overall guideline on what they have to follow in terms of health and safety and medical support. Let’s take epilepsy for example, although there are over 40 different types of seizures and each individual reacts differently, we tend to be bundled up into one category: epilepsy. Is this right of organisations? No, it’s not. But we cannot blame EasyJet alone for following their procedures.

When reading this article with my partner, he also agreed with me on siding with EasyJet. I did argue that my seizures can sometimes be non-epileptic and I can feel upbeat again in an hour or so, I just need to nap. And this sounds just like passenger Helen and many other passengers with epilepsy who have responded online. For example, I don’t fall to the floor (the seizures you usually see across television) instead I have absence seizures which come and go every couple of seconds and I look like I’m day dreaming. My partner reminded me that although I feel better, I’m pretty spaced and need support off of him and others. This made me think: if I had a seizure, and the plane alerted there was a fire or some sort of emergency, would I really be in the best mindset and health to respond to pilot’s orders? I personally don’t think I would be. I’d be going in and out of concentration wondering what the monkeys is going on!

Epilepsy is definitely a neurological condition that needs more understanding across the world in all forms of support including doctors, health care, home, education, and for many employment. Reading articles like these is sad as it’s extremely frustrating to see another epilepsy warrior fighting a battle with seizures and having to jump through hurdles to live an everyday life. But let’s not forget that if we stand together to raise awareness, the more people will become aware and the more we’re able to speak up. The equality act and health and safety is in place to protect us.

What are your views on this article and epilepsy? Let me know! If you’d like to read more about the article of the event, click on this link here.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Matt Gutting 6th September 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Hm. I’m torn. Initially I sided pretty strongly with the patient. Now, I’m not sure. The EasyJet flight staff were, certainly, following procedures; in that, they’re certainly not to blame as individuals – they’re just doing what they’re told, and trained, to do.

    On the other hand, was EasyJet as an entity to blame? I think they were, in that (as an organization) they don’t seem to have had what I would consider appropriate, or at least appropriately responsive, policies regarding people with seizure disorders. To the extent that EasyJet might have, but didn’t, implement more educated and responsive policies (such as being able to account for the evaluations of trained medical personnel), I would fault them as a corporate body.

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