Airline to Nursing Mom: Cover Up or You Can’t Fly

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(Courtesy: MGN Online)

(CNN) — New mom Lindsay Jaynes was just trying to be proactive. Weeks before a scheduled trip, she tweeted Delta Air Lines just to make sure she’d be allowed to breastfeed without a cover during the flight.

Next time she might just nurse first and ask questions later.

After a Delta representative responded that she couldn’t breast feed unless she had a cover-up, the California mom suddenly found herself in the middle of a social media storm and frustrated by the airline’s attempts to smooth things over.

Friday night, Jaynes sent the following tweet:

“What’s your breast feeding policy? I’ll be flying with my 10wk old son and he won’t nurse with a cover or take a bottle. Thanks”

The reply? “@ClassicHippie Lindsay unfortunately you are not able to breast feed if you don’t have a cover up. I’m sorry. *SD”

In an interview with HLN affiliate WXIA, Jaynes said she was shocked by the answer.

“I was expecting a link to their policy I could print out just in case there were any issues.”

Oh, there were issues all right. And they started piling up right in her Twitter feed.

“@DeltaAssist My flight is six hours and he needs to eat every two hours. What do you suggest?”

“@ClassicHippie I would suggest pumping if you can and bringing it on board with you. You are allowed to bring breast milk on board. *SD”

“@DeltaAssist I’ve tried since he was born to get him to eat from a bottle and he absolutely won’t, so that’s not an option.”

“@DeltaAssist So even though I am legally allowed to breastfeed without a cover, you’re saying I can’t? Is there a Delta written policy?”

By this point, the public back-and-forth had caught the attention of breastfeeding supporters and advocates. A tweet from popular community site The Leaky Boob advised Jaynes she didn’t have to ask for the airline’s permission to nurse without a cover.

“I was just trying to head off any problems before I even got on the plane, but that’s obviously not happening :( ” she replied, frowny face included.

Someone else had obviously taken notice of the conversation as well, since @DeltaAssist, a customer-friendly Twitter account run by the airline, went silent and then hours later contacted Jaynes with an apology and completely different guidance from what she’d been told earlier.

“@ClassicHippie Delta welcomes breastfeeding mothers and babies on our flights. We apologize for the misinformation earlier. *TH”

The airline followed up with a private direct message, briefly apologizing to Jaynes “about the misinformation.” But unimpressed, she went ahead and made their apology public, while also noting Delta told her the person with whom she initially tweeted “has been informed of the correct policy” regarding nursing mothers.

Jaynes explained on Twitter that her 10-week-old son, Seamus, has “refused” to take a bottle or feed while under a nursing cover. An overwhelming number of people on the site have sympathized with and rallied behind her, while also taking aim at Delta.

“Nothing infuriates me more than imposing shame and modesty on women, especially when they are simply feeding their children. @DeltaAssist,” tweeted one woman.

However, Jaynes has also been retweeting samples of the other kinds of messages she’s now receiving as a result of all this, including these:

“@DeltaAssist great move! @ClassicHippie when you’re comfortable with men flopping their winkies at you, then you can flop your boobs around” — @RayJuniorShow

“@ClassicHippie I get your kid has to eat and all but why make other people on your flight uncomfortable? It’s quite disrespectful.” — @SMARKRAGE

General rule of debate: If your sentence begins with “I get that your baby has to eat and all” there is nothing which can follow that will help your cause. However, here’s one reply we can pretty much all agree with, from @thecrabigail:

“Pretty sure passengers and crew would be more offended by screaming baby than happily eating one.”

In 2012, a woman reached a settlement with Delta, Freedom Airlines and Mesa Air Group after being ordered off a Delta-operated flight in 2006 when she refused to cover up while breastfeeding her child.

17 comments

  • brittany braden

    Some people are so rude … if shes gonna feed her baby with oout a cover more power to her! How would u people like to eat under a blanket .. its not that enjoyable im sure .

  • kathie

    She should be able to feed her baby but surely some sort of modesty should be shown too? Some attempt at covering as much as possible without spoiling the baby’s feeding would be appreciated, I’m sure.

  • Wow

    Why is it legally o.k. for a breastfeeding Mom to feed her baby sans cover, but if a woman just exposes her breast, that’s indecent exposure?

  • Angela

    I wouldn’t want to be on a plane with my husband and kids and them see some ladies breast, that’s inconsiderate! It’s not hard to cover up and there’s no harm to the baby. Have some modesty.

    • Charris

      Obviously you didn’t breastfeed your children. If you did you’d uh understand. Some babies just DON’T accept being covered up

  • joker73

    How much would it cost the airlines to put in some privacy curtains? Mom can feed the baby comfortably without smothering the baby and no one else can see. Problem solved!

  • Amber h

    This is people with too much time on there hands that be complaining. Babys have preferences like we do. Would you eat under a blanket covered up. I mean come on really.+

  • Charris

    I’m glad she got allowed to. It sickens me how our society treats BFING! Breasts were made to produce milk! What is that milk good for? Oh yea, feeding our children! It has become more accetable to see a 1/2 naked woman than a breastfeeding mom!

  • chris

    This wasn’t about breast feeding her kid. She was out to make a statement. Why else would she put it on Twitter and turn it into an issue?
    Women can feed all they want with a little common sense and modesty. They don’t have to flaunt their bare breast around and announce to the world what their doing!

  • kathie

    You are right Chris — it’s the “in your face” kind of statement making that most reasonable people object to. I always look for the agenda….

    • WOW

      Exactly! I don’t have anything against breast feeding. It’s the women who think it’s their right to do it anywhere they please without a cover up.

  • Barb

    If you go to a beach or a pool and there are women who are walking around with bikini tops just barely covering up. You see just as much, if not less breastfeeding. So why is not acceptable when walking around with your breast practically showing with a thin piece cloth covering up the nips. Only the past 20 years or so has breastfeeding become “taboo”. People just need to get over themselves.

  • marie

    Some babies don’t like baths, does that mean you don’t give them a bath either? You work it out. Cover up best you can. Why someone would feel comfortable exposing themselves in front of complete strangers is a mystery to me. Some modesty is always best. All these overly self righteous breast feeding mamas need to relax and try to be courteous to others as they expect/demand everyone else to be towards them. wow.

  • Jennifer Merryman

    If I choose to breast feed my child that is my god given right. That is why I have breasts in the first place. I am not going to hide in another room to do it and I don’t think I should have to smother my child. We don’t force anyone to eat in a room alone or in the bathroom as some have suggested. It is perfectly natural and normal to breastfeed. You watch cable television programs that show breasts all the time, but when a mom is feeding her child it is indecent and she should cover up. Give me a break!

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