Young girl with cancer and mum not allowed on flight
A YOUNG Darling Downs mother expected Virgin Australia to show more compassion, after being denied access to fly her cancer-stricken daughter to a vital appointment.
Billie-Jean Simon and her three-year-old daughter Payton Hartigan were at Brisbane's domestic terminal last Wednesday, waiting to fly to Newcastle so Payton could receive stem-cell treatment.
Payton was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in February. She has had six rounds of chemotherapy at Lady Cilento Children's Hospital and was required to travel for more treatment.
The pair was at the airport with time to spare but Payton became sick moments before their boarding call. Ms Simon rushed Payton to the bathroom.
She knew they were cutting it close and reached the gate as the door to the tarmac was closing and people were still making their way onto the plane.
Ms Simon explained their situation but was told she was too late.
Ms Simon's mother Tina Mancini said her daughter was shattered.
"She doesn't like publicising Payton's cancer but the appointment was so important she couldn't miss it," she said.
"When she asked about the next flight she was told it would be another $600, despite having insurance.
"With money so tight at the moment, it just wasn't something she could afford.
"She couldn't stop crying. I don't know how much my poor girl can take."
Ms Simon's parter Michael Hartigan ended up driving them to Newcastle.
After inquires by The Chronicle, a Virgin Australia spokesman said a full refund would be given to Ms Simon and Payton. A $1000 credit and travel fund will also be issued to cover future travels.
"Virgin Australia takes great pride in delivering superior customer service. Regrettably on this occasion, our service was well below expectations and we are truly sorry for the family's experience," he said. "We have resolved this matter with our guests and taken steps to ensure this does not occur again."
Ms Mancini said it was a step in the right direction.
"They have rectified the situation but it shouldn't have happened," she said.
The family has started a fundraising page to help pay for Payton's future treatments.