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Sheffield family win apology from airport after staff told Polly, 13, her diabetes medication ‘could crash the plane’

Joanne, Polly and Simon Holland have won an apology from Manchester Airport after being 'treated like terrorists' by security staff.
Joanne, Polly and Simon Holland have won an apology from Manchester Airport after being 'treated like terrorists' by security staff.

A Sheffield mum who said her family were made to feel ‘like terrorists’ for carrying life-saving medication for their diabetic daughter has won an apology from Manchester Airport.

Joanne Holland, aged 47, complained after travelling to Naples in July with her husband Simon and their 13-year-old daughter Polly, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of six.

Polly must have the essential medicine in her hand luggage at all times, and the family carry letters to this effect from Sheffield Children’s Hospital whenever they travel abroad.

Despite this, the family were told to open all their medication and put it into individual plastic bags like other passengers’ non-medical liquids, possibly damaging or contaminating it.

Later, they were called back through security by a member of staff who told Polly her insulin ‘could make the plane crash’ and it would be ‘her fault’.

Joanne, of Millhouses, said: “As a parent your children are always your priority but with Polly it is even more because I am carrying medicine that will keep her alive.

“For me it was frustrating but she was worried she would not be able to go on holiday. I just held her hand and said everything was going to be ok. She looked close to tears.”

Joanne - who says the family were left feeling anxious, upset and angry by the ordeal - has now received an apology from Manchester Airport which she says she appreciates.

However, she said the statement still leaves some important questions unanswered about their procedures when dealing with medicines and other liquids.

She added they will be ‘looking at alternative airports’ in future to ensure her family’s safety.

Fiona Wright, director of customer services and security for Manchester Airport, said: “We’d like to apologise to the Hollands for their experience when travelling through the airport recently.

“The correct procedure for medicines and medical equipment is that they require scanning unless there is a written exemption from a doctor or hospital. This is why the Hollands were asked to present their daughter’s diabetes medication for screening.

“Unfortunately, on this occasion some of the medication was not screened correctly so it was necessary to bring it back for additional screening.  The safety and security of all our passengers is our number priority.

“However, we acknowledge the situation could have been handled better and this has now been raised with the staff member in question.”