A disabled teenager and his family returning to France after visiting New Zealand relatives have been kicked off an Emirates flight due to his epilepsy, despite having medical clearance to fly.
New Zealand man Adam Brown had brought his wife and three boys from their home in Lyon to live in Auckland for the past year, to catch up with their Kiwi roots.
Brown's brother Miles said the family left Auckland last Thursday, and after a few days in Melbourne were on the last leg of their trip from Dubai to Lyon.
Their son Eli, who has epilepsy, autism and severe learning difficulties, had flown all around the world, and while in New Zealand had no problems flying, Miles said.
After they were waiting for take off on their last flight home from Dubai, the family was asked to get off the flight.
"They said Eli wasn't allowed on the plane, despite already taking two Emirates flights from New Zealand without a problem, despite his doctor on the phone saying he was fine, and an email and medical certificate saying the same," said Miles, who had been in contact with his brother.
"They kicked them off with such gusto, even threatened to get police to remove them."
Once they were off the flight the ground medical grew assessed Eli and said he was fine to fly, Miles said.
"They were scratching their heads, and said of course he is OK to fly. Regardless, the cabin chief would not let them on the plane."
Eli's mother, Euronews journalist Isabelle Kumar, tweeted that it took Emirates nine hours to respond, before the family was put up in a "grotty hotel".
Miles said the family were "incredibly upset".
"The boys were crying. It is quite challenging, travelling with your disabled boy across to the other side of the world so he can see his family. We would have expected some more empathy."
The family had been put on another flight to Geneva, Switzerland, but were still "pretty angry" at the treatment, Miles said.
"They put a lot of work into their son, society needs to step and show some compassion.
"They had a lovely time in New Zealand, and no issues on their Air New Zealand flights here. Not with Emirates though, they need to sit up and pay attention."
Adam Brown had been living in the south of France for the past 20 years, running his own sports filming company.
"He had been away from New Zealand 20-odd years and so wanted to bring the family back here for a taste of New Zealand life," said Miles.
"It was a big trip for them. They wanted to come and get their young family acquainted with New Zealand, as they had been growing up in France. They had an amazing time, this just put a bad ending on it."
An Emirates spokesperson told Euronews the airline was "very sorry for any distress and inconvenience caused to Ms Kumar and her family".
"Such situations are usually difficult for operational staff to assess, and they opted to act in the best interest of our passengers' safety as well as on advice from our medical team.
"Our customer service team has been in touch with the family, and we have offered them complimentary hotel stay while in transit and rebooked them on another flight departing on 26 July."