Flying can be a bit of a nightmare, even under ideal circumstances. It seems like there’s a new story every day of a routine flight going horribly wrong for some poor passenger. As a parent, I can tell you, the thought of flying with my children sends me into an anxiety spiral. While some airlines are going above and beyond to make traveling with kids a bit easier, there’s still the matter of getting through the airport and TSA screening. One mom was forced to dump a sealed can of formula before a 10-hour flight with her baby, after TSA said it failed their screening process. Honestly, the whole thing seems fishy as hell.
Claire Wight was preparing to fly for 10-hours with her 7-month-old daughter, Fiona. She brought along a few snacks, a bottle with powdered formula in it, and a brand-new sealed can of formula to feed Fiona on the long flight.
Thank you Transportation Security Administration at the Rochester, MN airport for making me surrender my baby’s ENTIRE…
Claire says the trouble began in the TSA screening line. TSA employees couldn’t understand why Claire, a Brazilian national with permanent resident status, was flying with her American daughter into Canada. They made several phone calls to ensure that Claire was legally cleared for international travel with Fiona. Then, they turned their attention to her carry-on items.
When Claire told them she was traveling with food items for Fiona, agents inspected the items.
They tested the outside of the sealed can of formula for explosives. Claire says at this point, she was patted down because one of her items “failed the test”.
She was told she wouldn’t be able to bring the can of formula on the plane. When she asked if she could transfer it to another container, she was denied. To make matters worse, one of the TSA agents asked Claire why she couldn’t just breastfeed Fiona. Claire told Romper that she explained to the agent that she wasn’t able to breastfeed enough to keep Claire fed on the long flight. She says, “It was the ultimate reminder that my body failed and I can’t feed my child.”
Claire was eventually able to find a fruit pouch to feed Fiona on the flight, and boarded the plane. Her husband Eric contacted the airport to file a formal complaint. He was told that the additional screening Claire was subjected to was part of a “pilot program the TSA is testing.”
TSA instructions for traveling with children are vague about the screening processes for formula. They say the formula may need to be tested for explosives. The instructions also say you may be asked to open the formula, or transfer a small amount to another container. But Claire says that no further testing was done on the can, nor was the contents tested.
We’re glad that Claire and Fiona made it onto their flight, but it couldn’t have been easy to fly for 10-hours with a hungry baby! Understandably, these policies and procedures are in place for a reason. But it seems like TSA screening processes need to be clearer, and more could and should have been done to ensure an infant doesn’t go hungry on a long flight.