Since the pandemic began more than two years ago, airline companies have been hit hard wiping out tens of thousands of jobs and uncountable billions in revenue. The pandemic changed the way airlines operate, enforcing strict measures and procedures for both passengers and employees leading to a lot of problems in handling the boarding process, flights and arrivals.
The strict procedures ended up to be fatal for the 41-year-old C. Powell who was denied to board his flight home because he didn’t match the passport photo and the passport was described to be “slightly damaged”. Powell missed the medical treatment he had previously scheduled and died while waiting for emergency documents to be issued so he can continue his journey way back home in England.
According to the Mirror that reported about Powell’s story few days ago, Powell, who lives in England, was visiting his girlfriend in Jamaica. Suffering with sickle cell anemia, Powell had scheduled a life-saving blood transfusion, a treatment that he was about to undergo once he returns home in London. Powell had his flight scheduled back to England on March 8, but once he arrived at the airport and started the regular boarding procedure, he was rejected by British Airways staff.
The man had nothing else left, but to apply for emergency travel documents at the British Consulate instead. However, while waiting for the emergency documents to be issued so he can go home and start the six-week-long life-saving blood transfusion procedure, Powell died on March 12 of apparent organ failure after his health spiraled out of control, just a few days after he was denied to board on the plane.
According to Powell’s mother claims, the airline staff rejected Powell because he did not “match” his passport picture. Powell had put on some weight since the passport photo was taken and “grown dreads” and according to the mother, that’s the reason why the airline staff was suspicious if the document was authentic. In addition, the mother said his passport was also “slightly damaged”, but his driving license was in perfect condition.
Powell’s 60-year-old mother Sandra finds the airline company responsible for her son’s death and says that her son should have been let on the flight home. Sandra admitted to be in “complete shock” over her son’s death.
“I can’t talk about it, I do not even want to think about it. To know that he actually went on holiday and it’s something he would do on a regular basis. That should never have happened, they had no right to take control of my son’s life,” she said.
According to Powell’s 30-year-old girlfriend Monique, Powell was feeling well up until he was rejected to board on the plane. His problems started at the airport and continued in the upcoming days. Powell was reportedly complaining of stomach aches and finding it difficult to eat while he waited for new documents. He eventually collapsed and was transferred to a local hospital where he died despite doctors’ efforts to save him. His mom named the “stress” of the whole situation to be the main reason for his worsened condition.
The incident forced British Airways to respond regarding the incident and their spokesperson said the company tried everything, but Powell’s passport was very damaged to let him travel.
“We’re saddened to hear that one of our customers has passed away and our thoughts are with his friends and family at this difficult time. Airlines are required by law to ensure that all documents presented for travel are valid. While our airport team did what they could to help Powell, unfortunately the photo page of his passport was so badly damaged it could no longer be regarded as a valid travel document,” BA spokesperson said.