— Korean Airlines denied a woman diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer a seat on a Seattle-to-South Korea flight because she looked too frail to fly.
Crystal Kim had approval from two doctors and a note clearing her to fly over the weekend, according to KING5-TV, NBC News' local affiliate in Seattle. The carrier thought Kim might not be up for the long flight, Korean Air spokesperson Penny Pfaelzer said.
Pfaelzer said the carrier arranged a hotel for the Kims while it attempted to get proper authorization. She said other passengers would be "traumatized" if a passenger were to die in flight, and called the situation unfortunate.
"I wanted to take my mom there for Mother's Day," said Mimi Kim, Crystal's daughter.
The Kims went back to the doctor Monday to get another note, the younger Kim told KING-TV. "Her vitals are normal ... she is fit for travel," she said.
The airline reportedly was still dissatisfied, and left Seattle on Monday without the Kims.
"It's absolutely ludicrous, heartless and unbelievable," Mimi Kim said.
Delta Air Lines said it would fly Kim to South Korea on Wednesday, KING5-TV reported.
A call to Korean Air's corporate office in Seoul was answered by a person who said Tuesday is a national holiday, and said to call back Wednesday. Several Asian countries celebrate Buddha's Birthday, which falls on May 10 this year.
Korean Air's marketing department in Los Angeles has not yet responded to an e-mail from msnbc.com.
A call to Delta also has not been returned.