TAMPA (FOX 13) - A Pinellas County grandfather says Frontier Airlines wouldn't let him fly with his granddaughter because he is blind, and therefore, a "liability."
Kliphton Miller says the experience was degrading and now the airline is apologizing.
Miller born with glaucoma and has been blind since he was 3-years-old, but he's met every challenge head-on.
"I call it a blessing in disguise because I've spent my lifetime trying to prove people wrong on doing stuff that they do and doing it better," Miller said Friday.
But Miller experienced an unexpected challenge May 23 while traveling with his 18-month-old granddaughter. The ticket agents wouldn't let him fly out of Tampa International Airport.
Miller, who's from Tarpon Springs, was trying to bring his baby granddaughter back to her parents in Las Vegas, but he never got past the ticket counter.
"A supervisor of the ticket counter questioned the ability of me taking care of my granddaughter aboard the plane since I needed help getting to the terminal," Miller told FOX 13, explaining the employee then called Frontier's corporate office. "Corporate said, 'do not let him on the plane that is an' -- and I quote -- 'extra liability to take care of a blind person with a baby if an emergency occurs.'"
Miller said what made the situation more outrageous is that he's a father of eight and still cares for four children under the age of 12. He also flew with the very same granddaughter twice before.
"I flew Frontier nonstop from Minneapolis to Orlando with no issues at all," he said.
Miller was able to fly out two days later after Frontier acknowledged its error and didn't charge him for the flight. But Miller said the ordeal was embarrassing and he's still stunned it even happened.
"For them to claim that they thought they needed to give me extra help just because I had a baby [was] kind of degrading and made me feel small," he said. "That's another thing that was degrading to me: for them to just assume that I can't take care of myself once I'm aboard a flight with my granddaughter."
In a statement to FOX 13, a spokesperson for Frontier Airlines called the situation "a customer service failure" and wrote:
"We have coached airport team members and ensured compliance with Frontier policy that ensures all passengers are treated with respect and ensures that we are sensitive to their individual travel needs."
"Frontier did apologize to me, I will say that," Miller said. "They did call me the next day and apologize, but that still doesn't [take away] the sting, the embarrassment of being turned away in front of all those people in the terminal, my kids, my family."
Miller added, although the airline also offered him a $500 credit for a future flight, he's not sure he will ever travel on Frontier again.