SEA-TAC AIRPORT, Wash. – A woman dying of cancer who wants to live out her final days in her native South Korea is finally flying there Thursday, five days after an airline denied her passage over concerns she might die on the flight.
Crystal Kim and her daughter, Mimi, took off on a Delta Airlines jet just before 2 p.m. They will be making a connection in Japan.
Crystal has stage four breast cancer and has only a couple of months to live. Both she and Mimi were set to fly out Sunday on Korean Air. But the airline would not let Crystal on board over concerns she might die on the flight, possibly traumatizing other passengers. Even with clearances from doctors, Crystal and Mimi were not allowed to fly Sunday or Monday by the airline.
Delta Airlines caught wind of their plight and agreed to fly them Thursday. They also upgraded the Kims to first class.
Crystal's story has made its way around the globe. Korean media has picked up the story and it is lighting up the blogs with calls to get Crystal home to Korea.
International rules give Korean Air the right to deny passengers based on medical reasons, but travel agent and industry expert Steve Danishek said he has not heard any reasonable explanation from Korean Air as to why Crystal Kim wasn't allowed to fly.