Delta Apologizes For Making Nursing Mother Check Bag Containing Her Breast Pump

Perhaps you’ve been there before — you’ve got three bags and the airline tells you you’ve got to consolidate your carry-ons down to two, even if it means checking an item. But a nursing mother who says she was told she’d have to check her breast pump says Delta Air Lines should’ve allowed her to bring it onboard instead of making her check it.

The airline is now apologizing about a week after the woman’s flight, where she says she was forced to choose between her purse, a cooler bag carrying breast milk and a standard carry-on containing her breast pump, reports CNN.

She says gate agents wouldn’t allow her to board with the pump, which was in her carry-on suitcase, because she already had two other bags. But medical devices, strollers and some other equipment don’t count against the carry-on allowance, according to Delta’s own policy.

Despite that policy, an agent first told her to consolidate the luggage even after she said the suitcase had a medical device.

“She then said the computer just gave her a message stating that all passengers starting with me would need to check their bags,” the woman told CNN. “When I later entered the jet bridge, passengers lining up behind me had their suitcases.”

Another passenger who says she doesn’t know the woman said she saw and heard what happened. She says Delta staff wasn’t budging, even though there were “at least five available spots in the overhead bins” when she got onto the flight.

“She kept saying, ‘I have a medical device I need to bring with me on the plane,’ over and over, visibly upset,” the onlooker told CNN. “The ticket agent and her supervisor, who she eventually called over, were not helpful and not supportive.”

Delta has since apologized, saying it “supports the rights of women to breastfeed.”

“Breastfeeding and breast pumps are permitted aboard any Delta flight and in Delta ground facilities. We have apologized to the customer for her experience,” a spokeswoman said, echoing the official Delta policy.

That reads: “Delta fully supports a woman’s right to breast-feed on board Delta and Delta Connection aircraft and in Delta facilities. Breast pumps are allowed on board.”

The woman says now she hopes her situation will lead to an increased awareness about women’s rights to breastfeed and pump on planes. She’s started a campaign to encourage airlines to post their pro-breastfeeding and breast-pumping policies inside all aircraft, called Boobs on Board.

She’s pitched the idea to Delta CEO Richard Anderson’s executive assistant, who she says called to discuss the incident.

“I told her that on behalf of all nursing moms, I would be extremely grateful if this change happened,” she said.

Delta prohibits carry-on breast pump, apologizes later [CNN]