NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Stranded.
A French family finds themselves stuck in the United States after British Airways refused to let their sick son fly.
The family says he was a victim of weight discrimination, CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock reported Thursday.
Kevin Chenais said he just wanted to get home after spending more than a year at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. But on Thursday he was stranded.
“It’s been difficult, a nightmare. I need to get home,” Chenais said.
Chenais had no problem coming to the States on a British Airways jet. Going home they had the same type of plane lined up, but he missed that flight, and things went sour.
In Chicago, he was denied boarding a London-bound plane.
“It’s discrimination,” Chenais said.
Chenais’ parents said his weight issues are glandular, and he’s dealt with it since a very young age.
“It’s a discrimination case because they aren’t thinking of the medical problem of Kevin. They’re just thinking he’s big; he’s fat. He’ll disturb the people around,” Christina Chenais said.
British Airways told CBS 2 it does not discriminate.
“The British Airways team worked tirelessly to find a solution. Unfortunately, we were unable to safely accommodate the customer on any of our aircraft, in any cabin,” the airline said in a statement.
That reasoning did not sit well with Chenais’ parents.
“Before we believed them; now I don’t believe because I feel they just wanted to get rid of us as soon as possible,” his mother said.
“We felt totally abandoned,” his father added.
They scrambled to find any means home to France, arriving at Penn Station via Amtrak on Monday night.
Mother, father and son, along with an extensive amount of luggage and medical equipment, are crammed into one room at the Comfort Inn in Red Hook waiting. It’s been more than two weeks since they’re journey home began.
“Now we just keep our fingers crossed,” Christina Chenais said.
The Chenais family hopes to make the transatlantic voyage home next week on the Queen Mary 2. If for some reason that doesn’t work out other airlines have offered to step in and help.
The family said they are still waiting on a ticket refund from British Airways totaling nearly $10,000, and also the cost of their unexpected extended stay, as the cost continues to mount.
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