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