A mom says airline staff told her she should retreat to the tiny airplane bathroom to pump breast milk instead of at the rear of the cabin.
While JetBlue has since apologized for the crew member’s error, Molly Guy, owner and creative director of Stone Fox Bride, was pretty displeased to be relegated to an in-flight lavatory to pump her milk.
“It’s a six-hour flight, so I had expected I would pump once or twice,” she told ABC News. “I was sitting next to an elderly couple and didn’t want to pump in my seat, so I asked one of the attendants if I could pump in the back area of the plane where [the crew] gather.”
However, her request for a more private place to pump was denied by the male flight attendant, who said that the pit area is used for the staff in the case of turbulence. Even though the space was vacant at the time, he instead directed her to go to the teensy bathroom to take care of her business.
Once she landed, she aired her grievances via social media:
View this post on Instagram
Writing this from a Jet Blue flight where I have been banned from pumping in the back area due to the "comfortability" of the passengers. Ouch. Six hours from NYC to Oakland. Have you ever tried hand expressing eight ounces of breast milk crouched in an airplane bathroom with a line of passengers outside the door? #notfun. @jetblue
The reactions were swift and have spilled over to JetBlue’s Instagram account as well. On a recent photo of an in-flight meal offering, an Instagram user wrote, “@jetblue do you ask people to eat this in the bathroom?” Another user noted, “Really unfortunate that only some of your passengers can enjoy their meals. Shame on you for not allowing breastfeeding/pumping on your flights. As a doula I will not be flying with you all until this is fixed! #normalizebreastfeeding.”
JetBlue has released the following statement:
“We have a clear policy on accommodating breastfeeding mothers that states any nursing mother wishing to breastfeed their infants have the right to do so in any public accommodation including the aircraft cabin. The policy also states that crewmembers may not suggest to the nursing mother that she use a blanket to cover-up or go to the lavatory for breastfeeding purposes. As soon as we were made aware of this situation, we reached out to the aircraft to correct it and apologized to the customer for the crewmember’s error.”
Guy found the incident distressing, and I don’t blame her. “It’s the first time I’m away from my kids,” she said. “I’m traveling with five freezer bags and six ice packs and a huge breast pump, and it’s an added obstacle and embarrassing one to have to run into.”