During the past couple of days there have been two news stories about Jetstar (Australasia’s version of Ryanair or Easyjet) treating pregnant women really badly. In the first story, a woman who was 35 weeks pregnant flew from Wellington to Auckland with no problem, but was then told that she was too pregnant to return home. Today, another story of a stranded pregnant woman has emerged, with the woman in question being prevented from flying at 32 weeks, again on the return leg of a journey. In both cases Jetstar allowed the women to board the plane first and then marched them off before take-off. Stay classy, Jetstar.
The airline has defended its actions by saying that it requires written medical clearance for any women travelling past the 28 week stage. This would be absolutely fine, of course, if they actually applied their policy consistently and made sure that it was adequately publicised.
I flew to Palmerston North, and then back from Wellington, on Air New Zealand. I didn’t have any problems, and I had checked Air NZ’s policy beforehand. It said that you need to have medical clearance to fly if you have any ‘complications’ (including a twin pregnancy). But when I rang Air New Zealand to clarify this, I was told that I didn’t need to worry about any written clearance until my final trimester. It’s a bit of a mixed message, and this is when I’ve actually bothered to check – it’s easy to see how other women get caught out.
I’m due to fly for the last time when I’m 26 weeks pregnant – I’ve got to whiz down to Wellington for an afternoon, to attend a meeting. I’m definitely going to get a letter from my obstetrician to give me the all-clear: I would have a major sense of humour failure if I was forced off a plane!