Grace Burke, her husband, and their 1-year-old daughter were planning to attend a wedding in Florida in February when she began hearing about a mysterious virus that caused birth defects.
Not wanting to risk the health of her unborn child with potential exposure to the Zika virus, Burke decided to cancel their family’s trip. She called American Airlines, explained the situation, and said an agent told her she would receive a refund.
“I was just very concerned and alarmed,” Burke said. “I explained that I was pregnant, that I was nervous about flying to Florida because of the Zika virus, and he said ‘absolutely no problem, here's your refund number.’”
There were a few cases of the Zika virus reported in Florida, with the governor declaring a state of emergency in four counties
Burke provided the airline with a doctor's note, but after a few weeks, her refund was rejected.
“Our current policy on Zika does not include Florida, as the CDC has issued no travel watches or warnings within the United States,” a spokesperson for American Airlines told NBC 5.
“I don’t think that it's fair that because you have a financial hold on us that you can say yes, risk it,” Burke said, calling the experience disappointing. “I’m concerned for the wellbeing of my unborn child. You might want to show a little humanity and understanding.”
American airlines said they provide refunds to pregnant woman traveling to places in Latin America and the Caribbean affected by Zika, but only for tickets purchased before March 31.