The mom tells the NY Daily News that she’d had no problems plugging her pump into the outlet by her seat on the flight to San Diego, and that the pump she was using is specifically approved for use on a plane.
She says she had even checked with the airline ahead of time to make sure that this particular pump was allowed. It took four different staffers at AA reservations to come to figure it out, but eventually she got the thumbs-up.The mom used the pump without incident on her flight out to San Diego and on what was supposed to be the return flight to Chicago. However, that plane was diverted to Minneapolis due to bad weather. So it was during the short, final flight to Chicago, that the mom says a flight attendant told her she could not use the pump.
“It was humiliating,” recalls the passenger, who attempted to tell the attendant that she’d had no problem using the pump on previous AA flights. “She kept saying I had to be mistaken, that it must have been a different airline.”
The mom describes the attendant as “loud and cold and argumentative… At least a third of the plane knew my business. I could see them talking amongst themselves.”
A rep for the airline apologized for the incident and confirms that the mom was correct about being able to use the pump.
“Our in-flight personnel are trained to handle these situations with professionalism and discretion,” says the rep. “American does not have a policy prohibiting the use of breast pumps in-flight.”
The mom tells the Daily News that she’s happy about the apology, but would be happier if the airline made its policy clearer to passengers and crew.
“Pumping is already awkward and uncomfortable enough without having to worry about the individual discretion of whoever happens to be working that day,” she explains, adding. “I’d love to see their policy in black and white on their website, so moms can print it up and travel with it.”