Information first shared on my Facebook page.
Apparently, American Airlines has had a number of breastfeeding incidents over the years and there are multiple references to and versions of their breastfeeding “policy” that ensures “other passengers are not subjected to an uncomfortable situation.“
In 2006, on mothering.com, a mom wrote to American Airlines ahead of her flight to see what their breastfeeding policy was. The representative she spoke to on the phone threw around the word “discreet” and in another response she received by mail, she was told that flight attendants were to make sure other customers weren’t “uncomfortable” while she was breastfeeding.
In this post from 2008 from PhD in Parenting, entitled: “Cover up! Airline Breastfeeding Policies,” it says:
“Their procedures advise the crew to ensure that mothers breastfeeding their children have the privacy they need and that other customers are not subjected to an uncomfortable situation. Their inflight personnel are trained to handle such situations with professionalism and discretion.”
In 2011, again from mothering.com, a mother was asked by a male flight attendant to cover up. When she wrote an email complaint, the response she received was another printed letter that apologized for the rudeness of the attendant, but acknowledged that breastfeeding mothers must cover (it actually sounds just like the other letter mothers have received).
From 2012, I found this story: “Time for airlines to take a stand on breast-feeding passengers”
“I asked American Airlines about the incident, and a representative told me that the airline regrets what happened. “Our in-flight procedures advise our crew to ensure that breast-feeding mothers have the privacy they need and that other customers are not subjected to an uncomfortable situation,” a spokeswoman said. “Our in-flight personnel are trained to handle such situations with professionalism and discretion.”
American apologized and sent the passenger a $100 flight voucher.”
August 6, 2013, on a breastfeeding Facebook page, a mom talked about her breastfeeding incident she had with American Airlines in January 2013. She states that a blanket was thrown at her to use and it hit her baby in the head. After complaining, she received a letter just like the one the mom in the most recent situation received (see below).
In the spring of 2013, another mom was humiliated when trying to pump on an American Airlines flight. An airline representative said:
“Our procedures advise our crews to ensure that mothers who are breastfeeding or using breast pumps have the privacy they need,” said American Airlines spokesperson Andrea Huguely.”
She was also offered an $100 voucher for her complaint.
The most recent situation occurred on July 21, 2013. A mother was told that she “needed to put a blanket over [her] son ‘because there are kids on this flight.’” Her husband refused. They were ignored the rest of the flight and beverages were never offered to them.
After filing a complaint, she received the following letter:
This latest incident has gone viral on social media and mothers have turned to American Airlines’s Facebook page. On August 5, AA began posting this response to people’s complaints:
Again with the “uncomfortable situation” comment…
Then, late that night, word came that this mother was offered $100 for her complaint and to keep her from talking about this incident!
American Airlines’s comment still angered mothers who continued posting on AA’s Facebook page. American Airlines was ignoring the comments, while still responding to other general customer comments, until the afternoon of August 6th, 2013, when they responded to multiple complaints with this:
And that’s where we are, at the moment! I will continue to update this situation as it unfolds.
So, American Airlines… WTF?! This is inexcusable. Breastfeeding and pumping mothers should NEVER be harassed. You should be marketing yourself as a family friendly airline and take measures to ensure that these situations never happen again. Your employees need to be trained better, too. We better be hearing a better apology soon or else you risk losing a lot of customers.