A Queensland family were left in shock last week after a mother and her cancer-stricken daughter claim they were not allowed on a flight to travel to much needed medical treatment interstate, because they were told they were too late.
The family of Billie-Jean Simon and her three-year-old daughter Payton Hartigan, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid Leukaemia in February, claim the pair were on time for their flight to Newcastle.
But prior to boarding they had to rush to the bathroom as Payton was not feeling well.
When they returned the family claims the gate was closing and after explaining their situation Virgin Australia staff said they were still not allowed on board the plane.
"They were shattered," Ms Simon's mother Tina Mancini told 7News Online.
"Payton was going to be sick, so they had to go to the toilet."
Mrs Mancini claims her daughter could still see people walking down to the plane when the staff closed the door to the gate in her daughter's face.
Payton Hartigan has already undergone 16 rounds of chemotherapy at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital this year, but needed to go to Newcastle for stem-cell treatment.
Mrs Mancini said her daughter had to go through undue stress due to the incident, on top of the difficult situation her family is already facing.
The family was told it would cost $600 to book another flight - but couldn't afford to pay for another ticket.
Instead the partner of Ms Simon drove them for eight and a half hours through the night so they would not miss the treatment.
"They didn't get there til 1 in the morning," Mrs Mancini said.
Since the incident the airline has been in touch with the family.
Virgin Australia apologised, offered Ms Simon a travel voucher and are due to refund the cost of Ms Simon and her daughter's tickets.
"I can't fault the guy who contacted me. He was very apologetic," Mrs Mancini said.
A statement was released by the airline on Thursday.
"Virgin Australia takes great pride in delivering superior customer service.
"Regrettably on this occasion, our service was well below expectations and we are truly sorry for the family’s experience.
"We have resolved this matter with our guests and taken steps to ensure this does not occur again."
The family have now started a gofundme page in an attempt to relieve some financial pressure they face for Payton's ongoing treatment.