Woman Says United Airlines Flight Attendant Shamed Her For Breastfeeding During Flight

For years now nursing mothers have encountered any number of displeased looks, rude remarks and requests to cover up. A Vancouver mother says she was the latest victim of such a run-in when a flight attendant on a United Airlines flight tossed a blanket to her husband in an attempt to get her to cover up.

CNN reports that the incident took place while the woman was traveling with her husband and 5-month-old son on a return trip to Canada from vacation in Costa Rica.

The woman recounted the unpleasant episode on Twitter with a picture of her typed recollections.

According to her post, problems began on the final leg of the trip – from Houston to Vancouver – when she was breastfeeding her son while the airplane was taxiing for takeoff.

She says that a male flight attendant loudly asked the woman’s husband if he was with her. When her husband confirmed that he was indeed traveling with her, the flight attendant tossed a blanket at him, saying “Then here, help her out.”

“I had a blanket under my baby and a blanket draped across my knees and the plane was hot and stuffy,” the woman recalls. “He wanted me to cover myself.”

The woman, who says she turned red while other passengers sat in shock, turned as the attendant was walking away to ask what she needed help with.

“He continued to walk down the aisle of the plane and would not reply to me, even though everyone within about six rows of us knew exactly what was going on and could hear the entire incident unfolding,” she says in the post.

Passengers of the airplane then stood up for the woman, saying that the flight attendant’s actions were offensive and they hadn’t even realized the woman was breastfeeding until she was loudly singled out.

“I felt so completely embarrassed, uncomfortable and self-conscious for the rest of the flight,” she posts.

But the woman says matters got worse when the plane was diverted to Seattle to wait for fog to clear in Vancouver. Upon reboarding the plane, a folded blanket was waiting on her seat.

“Not a single other seat,” she says. “Just mine. I am so furious about this entire incident. I’ve been breastfeeding my son in myriad public places since he was born, and never has anyone made me feel so uncomfortable and ashamed for feeding my baby without putting a cover over his head,” she wrote in the post.

After posting the note online, the company reached out to the woman on Twitter saying that officials “look forward to speaking more with her and to our crew member to understand what happened.”

A spokeswoman for the airline tells CNN that United’s general approach to breastfeeding is to “welcome nursing mothers on board and we ask that crew members do their best to ensure their comfort and safety as they do with all customers. We also ask nursing mothers and passengers seated near them to be mindful of one another’s space and comfort.”

The woman says she filed a complaint with the airline, but has not been contacted aside for the Tweet.

This certainly isn’t the first time airlines have been less than welcoming to nursing mothers.

In January, Delta apologized to a mother for making her check her bag containing her breast pump.

Before that in August 2013, American Airlines was criticized for an apology to a mother claiming she as hasseled by a flight attendant for nursing on the plane.

The apology angered many consumers when it went on to include clarification that the airline believed “it is reasonable to ask that the mother cover-up in an appropriate manner during the feeding, and by your account it appears that you were sensitive to this need.”

Breastfeeding mom says flight traveled to unfriendly skies [CNN]

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