An autistic teen, who also suffers from epilepsy and an array of other learning disabilities, was removed from an Emirates flight, along with the rest of his family. This picture shows an Emirates Airlines Airbus A380 landing at Los Angeles International Airport, Aug. 5, 2008. Getty Images/ Robyn Beck

An autistic teen, who also suffers from epilepsy and an array of other learning disabilities, was removed from an Emirates flight, along with the rest of his family, although he held a medical certificate and was cleared to fly on planes.

Euronews journalist Isabelle Kumar was on her way back from New Zealand with the rest of her family, which included her 17-year-son Eli, who has special needs, husband and a pair of 10-year-old twins, when the incident happened.

Problems started when the family boarded an Emirates flight from Dubai, UAE, to Lyon, France — the last leg of the journey — and Kumar requested the flight crew to let her teen son sit in a row with a vacant seat next to him, in case he experiences a seizure during the flight.

Kumar was asked to leave the plane with the rest of her family if she could not produce Eli’s medical certificate.

“I couldn’t initially find the certificate, But I called the doctor, got them to email the certificate which she did immediately,” Kumar told the Guardian. “Eli’s doctor wanted to speak to the attendants but they refused to speak to her, refused to look at the certificate, and refused to listen to us about Eli’s needs.”

Kumar claimed the attendants 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.”

Although the journalist tried to convince them they had cleared Eli’s condition at the check-in counter as well as the departure gate, the Emirates flight crew refused to budge. "They kicked them off with such gusto, even threatened to get police to remove them,” Kumar told New Zealand Herald.

The incident scared both Eli and the twins. Kumar said the young ones started crying while her teenage son started holding his head and biting his arm, which he does when he is nervous — as seen in a short video posted by Kumar on Twitter:

When the family got off the plane, they were met with an emergency medical team, who were perplexed as to why Eli was not allowed to fly.

“They thought he’d had a medical emergency, but we said he was fine,” Kumar said. “They couldn’t understand why we had been kicked off. They immediately agreed he was fine to fly, but we were not allowed to re-board. The lack of humanity was really shocking.”

Once back at the airport, deciding on their next course of action was very difficult, Kumar said, since the airlines made no arrangements for accommodations for the family.

“We were just dumped in an airport, we had to battle to get a hotel and it was only after there was a Twitter storm that they suddenly started treating us correctly,” Kumar said.

Since there was no direct flight to Lyon the following day, the family had to fly to Geneva and then rent a car to reach Lyon. Eli suffered a seizure once they arrived in Geneva, which Kumar attributed to the exhaustion and lack of sleep due to the demeanor of Emirates.

“Travelling with a kid with disabilities is really challenging, we really have to plan it carefully in a lot of ways — so something like this is really disruptive, particularly for Eli,” Kumar said.

After the story went viral on Twitter, the airlines issued an apology to Kumar’s family.

A spokesperson for the company said they were “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 a complimentary hotel stay while in transit and rebooked them on another flight departing on 26 July,” the statement added.