Mom Says TSA Agent Made Her Pump Breast Milk Before Boarding Plane

Usually you hear stories about passengers being hassled when attempting to carry fluids through airport security. But a woman in Hawaii says she wasn’t allowed to board her flight with the breast-pumping device she was carrying until after she used it to fill up some empty milk bottles.

The mother of four says she’s a frequent flier and has never been hassled about her breast pump in the past.

Before going through security last week, she’d even dumped out the milk that she’d already pumped and bottled so that the TSA wouldn’t hassle her.

But it’s precisely because those bottles were empty that the TSA screener gave her trouble.

She was told that she couldn’t carry-on the cooler pack contained in the device’s package unless the accompanying bottles were full. The passenger tried to explain that this proprietary ice pack could not be easily replaced.

“I really only had two options: leave part of it behind or pump,” the woman tells ABC News. “And I’m not going to leave part of it behind because [the agent] doesn’t know the police and procedures.”

So, having no private place to use the pump, and requiring an electrical outlet to operate the device, the woman had to stand out by the sinks in the ladies room while she filled up the bottles.

“I’m in a dress, in heels and I find myself in front of a sink and mirrors with travelers coming in and out of the bathroom,” the woman recalls. “I’m standing at the sink with my breast hanging out, pumping. I wanted to cry. I was humiliated.”

“It really confuses me as to how an empty breast pump and cooler pack are a threat to national security and 20 minutes later, with milk, they no longer pose a threat to national security,” she adds.

The TSA admits that the screener made a mistake, and “The officer in question is receiving remedial training.”

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Mom With Breast Pump ‘Humiliated’ by TSA [ABC News]

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  1. Captain Spock says:

    I would not fly… Nothing is worth the humiliation.

  2. Cat says:

    It wasn’t that her bottles were empty. Her breasts were full.

    “You can’t fly with loaded hooters, Ma’am. Those things can go off at any time.”

    “remedial training”, my ass. The rest of us should get off so easily when we screw up.

    • pamelad says:

      I feel kind of sorry for the TSA agents, but as well for the customers who are victims of the larger system.

      I’ve been in a couple of U.S. airports as a victim, getting the contents of my purse dumped out and pawed over in those dirty bins for no apparent reason. They’re putting my purse and contents, plus my business jacket, in those bins where others put their shoes. Do they clean those bins between customers? Of course not. On top of that, they’ve handled many other passengers’ shoes, gross jackets due to sitting in filthy airline seats … list goes on but I‚Äôll stop here.

      The whole flying experience is so unpleasant, and full of germs.

      For the TSA agents, I’m sorry for you as individuals. You’re just trying to do your jobs, and most of you are friendly.

      It must be unpleasant dealing with ridiculous TSA regulations, the hope that you’re making the U.S. safer but knowing the system consists of mostly fake security, and handling all those germ-laden items and angry passengers hour after hour. Keep up the good work, because you‚Äôre doing the best you can to keep us safe.

      • Velifer says:

        No. THEY DO NOT GET A FREE PASS.

        They accept a position of authority, with control over people. They are able to do considerable harm to people. When that authority is abused, even out of ignorance, they should pay appropriately. The consequences should be elevated for agents, not reduced. Abusing their power to humiliate someone and violate civil rights is grounds for immediate termination and blacklisting, and should open them up to criminal and civil liability suits.

        • ezraindustries says:

          If it was out of ignorance, it’s not really an “abuse of power to humiliate someone”. That would indicate that humiliation was their goal. Which it surely wasn’t. The person is still an idiot, but your comment is wildly inaccurate.

        • taaurrus says:

          Lack on COMMON SENSE should also be grounds for termination. I don’t want someone who has no common sense being in charge of my safety. If they are going to declare something like this as a treat to national security – then whats to stop them, and their complete lack of common sense, from letting an ACTUAL threat pass by??

      • Arctic Snowbot says:

        SHOES GO ON THE FUCKING BELT! I hate when people put their shoes in a bin that I would like to put my coat and phone in.

        • sherrietee says:

          Depends on the airport/TSA agent. I’ve been told “you need to put those in a bin, ma’am” at Dulles.

  3. Coffee says:

    Ugh, god…if she has the right to whip them out, then I have a right to l-…

    Hmmm…*reads article*

    Oh, and I was all primed for a public breastfeeding story. Fuck you, TSA, for ruining that woman’s day and mine.

    • oldwiz65 says:

      And I was picturing the TSA cretins requiring her to do it while they watched to make sure she didn’t switch it for something lethal. jeez. Are the TSA people that dumb?

  4. Liam Kinkaid says:

    Sounds like the TSA

    is udderly ridiculous

    • Coffee says:

      Was that the breast you could do?

      • Liam Kinkaid says:

        I didn’t really have mammary choices, now did I?

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          Stop being such a boob.

          • BroamChomskey says:

            You guys are milking this whey too much.

            • 85% Real 15% Filler says:

              We are homoginizing with good reason because the culture of TSA needs to change and this is the casein point. You may be right though. The discussion is getting fermented to the point of being cheesy.

        • 85% Real 15% Filler says:

          It was a lactical error on the agents part, but it only happens 2% of the time so he gets remedial training at the local dairy farm. Talk about allowing your employees to suckle the teet a bit too long. The problem should have been nipped in the bud immediately before everyone had to get all pumped up about it. Oh well, everything is taken care of now, so no use crying over spilled milk.

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        I know, I have fond mammaries of when the commenters used to milk a pun for all it was worth. Well, I guess it could be nurse.

    • travisd1000 says:

      You forgot the “” part.

      Yeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhh!

  5. Shadowfire says:

    Man, that video gives a totally different picture of what happened. She jumped the guy!

    :P

  6. bosozoku says:

    I wonder what would have happened if the husband was packing the pump.

  7. areaman says:

    Sounds like TSA’s learning system is based a lot on, on the job trial and error.

    And they’ve learned a lot lately.

  8. KitanaOR says:

    I’d traveled for business while BFing with a electric pump. I was so worried about pumping while gone for a week, just to have to dump it at the airport. So I printed out the TSA policy to take with me, that states “Breast milk is in the same category as liquid medications.”

    That was a good idea, because one agent started in on the “can’t take liquids on the plane” until I showed him the printout. He told me that it was smart to have the policy with me because he didn’t know about it.

    You gotta know the rules and print them out because the TSA agents sure don’t know them.

    • keith4298 says:

      Good thing you didn’t show him a rule that said that boxcutters and handguns were the same as liquid medication, or we could have had a real problem!

      The fact that they aren’t trained is bad. The fact that they are willing to ignore what they THINK is their training on a passenger’s say-so is a lot more problematic!

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      You still got lucky, even with the printout. “The procedures have changed.” is usually what they respond with to people whipping out printouts of the website.

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      Does kind of make me wonder if you could mock up a fake guideline, slap a TSA logo on it, print it out, and use it to sneak actual contraband past TSA. Trusting a printout that someone presents to you is not a very good control. Your usage was completely honest and aboveboard (and I’m certainly not blaming you in any way), but what about the next person?

      Or do they actually verify the printout against something?

    • pamelad says:

      I feel kind of sorry for the TSA agents, but as well for the customers who are victims of the larger system.

      I’ve been in a couple of U.S. airports as a victim, getting the contents of my purse dumped out and pawed over in those dirty bins for no apparent reason. They’re putting my purse and contents, plus my business jacket, in those bins where others put their shoes. Do they clean those bins between customers? Of course not. On top of that, they’ve handled many other passengers’ shoes, gross jackets due to sitting in filthy airline seats … list goes on but I‚Äôll stop here.

      The whole flying experience is so unpleasant, and full of germs.

      For the TSA agents, I’m sorry for you as individuals. You’re just trying to do your jobs, and most of you are friendly.

      It must be unpleasant dealing with ridiculous TSA regulations, the hope that you’re making the U.S. safer but knowing the system consists of mostly fake security, and handling all those germ-laden items and angry passengers hour after hour. Keep up the good work, because you‚Äôre doing the best you can to keep us safe.

  9. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    I’m 100% for breastfeeding women being able to take bottles full of their milk on board, and I’m glad the TSA has an exception for this (even though their ‘officers’ don’t know about it), but THE TSA MAKES NO SENSE!

    They search little kids and old wheelchair-bound ladies, with the excuse that “If we don’t, then the terrorists will dress up like little old ladies and blow up the plane.” So what’s to keep the terrorists from filling up bottles full of explosive milk and blowing up the plane?

    There’s no consistency. If any of the Republican candidates would run on a platform of getting rid of the TSA, he’d have my vote.

  10. May contain snark says:

    At least she wasn’t breastfeeding in public which is terrible, dirty, and wrong.

    /s

  11. evilpete says:

    If someone f*cks up dealing with TSA , the go to jail.

    If TSA f*cks up dealing with someone, the get remedial training

  12. ned4spd8874 says:

    I am so damn tired of reading about these tsa violations. The tsa needs to be stopped! It’s clear that they are useless. This is just so wrong.

  13. crispyduck13 says:

    I’m so tired. So very, very tired…

  14. fuzzbox000 says:

    I can think of at least 2 pain-free solutions to this problem:

    A. Every airport I’ve been to in the last 2 years has had “Family Friendly” Bathrooms. Find one of those and pump in peace.

    B. Walk down to the newsstand/convenience store and buy a few cartons of milk, fill up and go through. I’m pretty sure that even the dumbest TSA agent will be unwilling to have a taste in order to prove the provenance of the milk.

    People may be stupid, but a minute of calm thinking can get around most problems, people.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      And both suggestions (while totally respectable) may result in said family missing their flight.

      • fuzzbox000 says:

        And pumping would take a shorter time? When my wife was pumping, it took a half hour or so. According to the picture, she had to fill 4 bottles. This was at an airport, right? They have restaurants galore, unless it was some sort of Wings-esque regional airport.

    • tasselhoff76 says:

      You know a third solution? Get rid of the TSA or adequately train them to actually do something more than security theater.

    • MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

      Even better if it she used chocolate milk:

      TSA Agent: “Uhhhh, this milk is brown.”
      Her: “The father’s black.”
      TSA Agent: “Oh, OK then.”

    • Intheknow says:

      Breast milk is very thin – almost grayish if I remember. Doesn’t look like your average 2%.

      • Shadowman615 says:

        Yeah, but I’d like to think the TSA agent would have saw something white in the bottle and that would have been enough.

        But I also would have thought this stupidity would not have happened in the first place, so there’s no telling what would have happened. For all we know, TSA agent would have taste-tested.

        “Hey, this isn’t yogurt, it’s semen!”

  15. tasselhoff76 says:

    What’s the point of the TSA again? What was the last terrorist plot that the TSA foiled? How many stories have there been of people taking guns and knives past the TSA? Seriously, what the hell is the point? To make air travel suck more than it otherwise does? Because if so, mission accomplished.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Also to make it more expensive to fly. Judging by the quality of “officers” they have manning the post there I’d like to know where all that cash is going.

    • golddog says:

      That’s the pain of being a TSA agent. To protect national security, the tales of innumerable thwarted terrorist plots involving breast milk and gels amounting to more than 3oz can never be told.

  16. thomwithanh says:

    Wrong video? Something about an assault during a bond hearing….

  17. jrwn says:

    “The officer in question is receiving remedial training.”
    That will make it all better.

    Honestly, they claim that they higher the best, but the best can’t even keep straight what they can let through and what they can’t.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      Oh please – what do you expect when you advertise for jobs on pizza boxes!

  18. momtimestwo says:

    I had a hard enough time pumping, I couldn’t imagine having to “pump on demand” because nothing would have come out. Kind of like trying to pee while someone is in hearing range, just cant do it. I don’t know how guys can stand next to each other and pee and get the flow going.

  19. Sarek says:

    Wait – we can’t board *with* liquids, but TSA said she couldn’t board with *empty* bottles?
    And then made her fill them up? Through the looking glass.

    And her breasts are now considered explosive devices? That explains some of my exes…..

  20. mikedt says:

    How about putting the f*cking rules in a book and putting the book by the security checkpoints so when he brain dead TSA goon says NO, you can tell him to check the book and quote where this is outlawed. This whole thing is asinine. The rules vary by airport, agent, time of day, phase of the moon, etc. Is this any way to run an agency?

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Most efficient idea ever.

    • golddog says:

      Yeah but then someone would have to figure out how to write the explanation of the difference between human breast milk and other liquids at a 1st Grade reading level. Maybe the rule book could be written Highlights style? Goofus and Gallant? Timbertoe the TSA Agent?

    • Michael Belisle says:

      1. The rules are in a book, but you can’t read the book.
      2. One of the rules is that everything is at the discretion of the agent. Even if the rules say you can bring something through security, if the agent decides you can’t, then you can’t.

  21. WyomingGunAndHuntingEnthusiast says:

    So…. why a video of a man in court being tackled? Granted its funny as hell but still not related to the matter at hand.

  22. tundey says:

    Wasn’t there a plan for there to be a passenger advocate at all airports with TSA screening?

  23. SilverBlade2k says:

    “The TSA admits that the screener made a mistake, and “The officer in question is receiving remedial training.””

    Maybe it should read “The TSA gave this guy a week off with pay.”

    Bloody bastards. Can they get any more retarded?

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      Why yes, I believe they can. Sadly, they probably haven’t even reached the pinnacle of idiocy yet.

  24. d0x360 says:

    Tsa agents must be the dumbest people in existence…

  25. The Lone Gunman says:

    Sigh

    “TSA”

    /Sigh

  26. dush says:

    Could she have just bought a glass of milk at the starbucks stand to dump in the bottle instead of pumping in the restroom or was the TSA person creepily watching her pump?

  27. makoto says:

    Confused… that was a courtroom brawl, not a woman arguing about her breast pump! I feel jipped!

  28. zombie_batch says:

    This is what happens when you give arbitrary power to people: they abuse others with it because they can. The police do things like this whenever the rules they follow aren’t quite sufficient, like arresting people for filming them. TSA clearly has fewer rules for their personnel to follow.

  29. shinazzle23 says:

    Since our tax dollars paid for that they should have to post the video of it on the Internet.

    Source: Rush Limbaugh

  30. ancientone567 says:

    Really, it is time to kill the TSA. Of which I mean every time you see one, pull back your right or left foot, which ever you prefer and kick them square in the nuts just for looking at you the wrong way. If they are woman then stomp on their feet! Please people lets make a new bill and change this shit ONCE AND FOR ALL. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE IN THE USA!!!!!!!!!!

  31. 180CS says:

    Anyone else disappointed that the story link under the video was to the correct article instead of the one about the court case?

  32. OnePumpChump says:

    So…leave the penis pump at home?

  33. pika2000 says:

    Really, how far are we willing to bend over? How come the TSA is not abolished yet? Bin laden is dead.

    “The TSA admits that the screener made a mistake, and “The officer in question is receiving remedial training.””
    Really? This seems to be the answer everytime they did something stupid, yet the stupid things keep happening. Where’s the accountability?

    • dush says:

      That officer should be forced to stand in front of a TSA line with a sign that says “I inappropriately forced a woman to pump.”

  34. lvixen says:

    Why is this video here? What has it to do with the TSA story above?

  35. Mikey1969 says:

    //”The TSA admits that the screener made a mistake, and “The officer in question is receiving remedial training.”??

    Hear that? REMEDIAL training… I’m not one of the ‘The TSA is out to get me’ morons, I have no problem with security. What I DO have a problem with is that this guy has to receive farking REMEDIAL training in order to learn this policy. Basically, it was covered on Day 1 of training, and if you don’t ‘get ‘it, you shouldn’t be able to get the job. THAT’S what makes me annoyed about this. Lunatics running the asylum, and all that.

  36. Mikey1969 says:

    //”The TSA admits that the screener made a mistake, and “The officer in question is receiving remedial training.”??

    Hear that? REMEDIAL training… I’m not one of the ‘The TSA is out to get me’ morons, I have no problem with security. What I DO have a problem with is that this guy has to receive farking REMEDIAL training in order to learn this policy. Basically, it was covered on Day 1 of training, and if you don’t ‘get ‘it, you shouldn’t be able to get the job. THAT’S what makes me annoyed about this. Lunatics running the asylum, and all that.

  37. big_d says:

    TSA=Titty Safety Agency

  38. NotLeftist says:

    Too stupid to be a real cop? Become a rent-a-cop.
    Too stupid to be a rent-a-cop? Work for TSA!!!!!