There is usually a lot of gum flapping about breastfeeding in public but comparatively, you hear a little less about public breast pumping. But as many breastfeeding moms know, pumping is just as crucial. But if you are a pumping mom who is going on a long flight, you may want to be careful which airline you choose.
Dawnella Brahos, a 38-year-old mother of three, was rudely told by an American Airlines flight attendant that she was not allowed to use her breast pump during the flight. Brahos had done her homework and researched which airlines had outlets at the seats so she would be able to plug in the pump. She even spoke to airline representatives who assured her that using her breast pump on board would not be a problem. Apparently this flight attendant didn’t get the memo.
“She was speaking in a loud voice, reading a page from a manual and adamant that because it was not pre-approved medical equipment I could not use the pump at my seat,” Brahos told NBC News. “I felt humiliated. Everyone pretty much knew my business at that point and she kept checking back and eyeballing me the whole time to make sure I wasn’t using the pump.”
Brahos was on the third leg of a trip to California with her husband and had no problem using the pump on the first two flights. She also brought a blanket to cover herself and made sure that she and her husband were seated next to each other so as not to bother other passengers. The flight attendants on her first two flights were very accommodating, even allowing Brahos to plug in the breast pump in the galley.
American Airlines issued the following statement:
“We apologize for the experience Ms. Brahos had on a recent flight. Our in-flight personnel are trained to handle these situations with professionalism and discretion… As with other devices that have an on/off switch, customers will be asked not to use them during takeoff and landing.”
“Our procedures advise our crews to ensure that mothers who are breastfeeding or using breast pumps have the privacy they need,” said American Airlines spokesperson Andrea Huguely.
Brahos was given a $100 voucher from American Airlines as compensation for her ordeal but I’m thinking she would probably rather have $100 to use on another airline.