Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham family receives oxygen bill for disabled toddler

The parents of a disabled toddler from Birmingham have been asked to pay £660 by an airline for the oxygen the child will need during the journey.

Three-year-old Jolina Barton, from Kingstanding, suffers from Ohtahara Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy.

According to the family, they had expected to be charged £330, but Dutch airline KLM doubled this amount a week before they were due to leave.

KLM said that strict safety procedures meant "certain costs apply".

The family is due to fly to the Caribbean island of Curacao on Friday.

They have raised almost £20,000 to take Jolina to swim with dolphins there.

Shane Barton said his daughter sometimes had as many as a dozen seizures a day and the oxygen was vital during the 11-hour flight.

'Strict procedures'

He said the family had been able to use their own cylinders on flights with several other airlines and had been expecting a £330 bill as KLM said their policy was to charge customers for extra services.

A week before Friday's flight, he said the cost had been doubled as KLM considered the journey from Birmingham to Curacao, via Amsterdam, as two flights in each direction.

"It's not the fact that we can't afford it, it's just the principle of paying 800 euros for something that's potentially going to keep my daughter alive," he added.

He said the family had taken 12 to 18 months to raise the funds for the trip, with the flights alone costing £3,500.

A spokesperson from the airline said: "We will do all we can to see to her special needs during her flight and we will call for special attention to carry a personalised oxygen cylinder on board.

"KLM always puts the safety of its passengers and crew first therefore we have strict procedures to ensure the safety for all passengers and crew at all times - that also holds in this situation, and so certain costs apply."

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