PETALING JAYA - A mother and her child were prevented from boarding a flight from Vietnam to Malaysia because the child was infected with chicken pox and was deemed a health risk to other passengers, AirAsia said.
The airline was responding to Saturday night's incident that went viral over social media.
Some of the passengers wrote on their blogs that the mother and child were held back by AirAsia staff at the Ho Chi Minh airport just as they were boarding the flight.
In response, AirAsia said the airline had no choice but to prevent them from boarding Flight AK1455 to ensure other passengers' safety.
"This was confirmed by a Vietnamese airport doctor on duty, who declared the baby unfit to board the flight," it said, attaching the doctor's report which contained the statement.
"The medical report said the child was brought to travel only three days after the first symptoms appeared and was found to have fever, watery eyes, runny nose and rashes on many parts of her body," the statement added.
"The doctor declared the child was unfit to fly."
AirAsia also said that another passenger who claimed to be a doctor also concurred that the baby should not travel.
AirAsia Berhad chief executive officer Aireen Omar said in the same statement that its ground representatives had provided the necessary assistance to the mother and child and made arrangements to fly them back for free once the child was deemed medically fit.
"We also offered hotel and transportation arrangements but the guests confirmed that could extend their stay in Ho Chi Minh City," she said.
Aireen said a passenger with chicken pox may only travel five days after the first symptom (rash) and must possess a valid medical certificate or doctor's letter to confirm that they are fit to travel.