Please get your breasts out of our friendly skies

BlogHer Original Post

I fly Delta Airlines all the time, but I'm thinking that I might not for much longer. Why? Well, apparently they kicked a woman off a flight for breastfeeding her baby.

Emily Gillette, 27, of Santa Fe, N.M., filed the complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission late last week against Delta Air Lines and Freedom Airlines, said her attorney, Elizabeth Boepple. Freedom was operating the Delta flight between Burlington and New York City.

Gillette said she was discreetly breast-feeding her 22-month-old daughter on Oct. 13 as their flight prepared to leave Burlington International Airport. She said she was seated by the window in the next-to-last row, her husband was seated between her and the aisle and no part of her breast was showing.

A flight attendant tried to hand her a blanket and told her to cover up, Gillette said. She declined, telling the flight attendant she had a legal right to breast-feed her baby.

Moments later, a Delta ticket agent approached and said the flight attendant had asked that the family be removed from the flight, Gillette said. She said she didn’t want to make a scene and complied.

Pardon me while I channel Izzy from Grey's Anatomy for a moment: Seriously?

Working Moms highlights the story and says:

To say I am shocked by this story is an understatement. We are asked/told to breastfeed, get put down and insulted if we dont and yet a woman is kicked off an airplane for feeding her child????

Seriously people... what is wrong with this country? wonders how the airline will make amends:

I hope that Delta/Freedom will correct this situation - reprimand or fire the attendant, conduct some education for the rest of its staff, and offer the woman free plane tickets to make up for the inconvenience, rudeness, and embarrassment of this whole situation.

And aurelia ann gives us the best post title on the topic (Throw Momma From the Plane), and gets right into it:

So if the guy on the plane next to me chews too loudly, can I have him removed from the flight because he is bothering me? I'm sure Mr. Skellon would enjoy eating his lunch with a blanket over his head. And nevermind the fact that by the time a baby is a few months old, he will most likely pull the blanket off his head anyway. I'm surprised someone didn't suggest that this poor woman try to feed her baby in the cramped airplane bathroom, after all, isn't that what bathrooms are for, feeding babies?

And who defines discreet? Her breast was not showing. Her husband was seated between her and the aisle. Do they ask other mothers to cover their baby's head if they are bottlefeeding? What's the problem here, the breast (that isn't showing), the eating baby, or the fact that the baby and the breast are touching? For some reason I don't think you find a breastfeeding mother "acceptable" if you are going to dictate how or when she must breastfeed.

I can tell you one thing. I wouldn't want to be a Delta employee this week.

Editor's note: Don't miss Mir's follow-up on this story: "Boobs bared in Burlington.

[image courtesy of GOOD Magazine]

BlogHer Contributing Editor Mir also blogs at Woulda Coulda Shoulda and Want Not.


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