A young mom is slamming American Airlines after she says she was shamed for bringing a breast pump and milk on a flight.
Kelsey Myers was returning to Chicago spending time with a friend in Los Angeles. Her airport experience was fairly uneventful — but that all changed while boarding her American Airlines flight. While carrying her breast pump, a small cooler with breast milk and a personal item, Myers was confronted by a staff member, who told her she needed to check a bag.
“At the gate, I was stopped by Daniel… who told me I had too many items. I explained to him my breast pump is a medical device and the small cooler was breast milk. And he still told me I need to check my bag,” she wrote on Facebook. “I continued to tell him I read their policy online and knew what I had was all allowed to be carried on. He told me to step aside and said he was calling a supervisor.”
Myers wrote that “Daniel” called a supervisor — and she felt relieved help was on the way. However, the situation continued to escalate.
“I waited until his supervisor Juliette arrived. She did not even ask me the situation, but instead immediately told me I need to check a bag. I again told her it was a medical device and I needed to carry it on. She started yelling at me to check the bag. In a condescending tone, she screamed in front of about 50 people waiting to board the flight ‘how many boobs do you have?’ I have never felt more harassed, disrespected and humiliated in my life,” she said. “She would not reason at all and continued to scream at me in front of everyone so I eventually just gave in and checked my bag. I’m shocked that a supervisor would show such disrespect.”
Myers’s story, which was posted to the American Airlines Facebook page, has received more than 2,100 reactions and 500 comments. The post was flooded with apologies from other mothers who had similar stories, with some commenters even saying they’ll boycott the airline.
“We were just about to book a flight with them round trip because we read how many items you can take on if you’re a breastfeeding mother with a lap infant. Plus the military discount of checked bags that we would be receiving. This post is definitely making me reconsider,” wrote one commenter. “Their site specifically says you can take those items on, so I would file a law suit if I were you.”
“I will never fly with American Airlines. As a breastfeeding mom I am appalled at how horribly this mom was treated. It’s shameful,” added another.
According to the American Airlines website, “diaper bags (1 per child), soft-sided cooler bags with breast milk, child safety seats, strollers and medical or mobility devices don’t count as your personal item or carry on.” This means Myers shouldn’t have been forced to check a bag.
While the airline has since offered Myers a $75 voucher, the mom says she is hopeful this experience will ensure American Airlines takes further steps to improve staff’s knowledge of policies and procedures – encouraging moms to do their research before booking with a certain airline.