American Airlines Apologizes After Breastfeeding Mother Says She Was 'Humiliated' for Carrying On Breast Pump
Kelsey Myers says she was yelled at when she tried to bring her breast pump on board an American Airlines flight
Kelsey Myers was flying from Los Angeles back home to Chicago with a carry-on suitcase, a purse and a separate bag with her breast pump and milk. Although this is within American Airlines’ carry-on policy — they allow passengers to bring an additional bag for medical devices, including breast pumps — a male gate attendant said she had too many items, and had to check in a bag.
He called over a female supervisor, who, according to Myers, did not ask about the contents of her bag before telling her she was violating the policy.
“She did not even ask me the situation, but instead immediately told me I need to check a bag,” Myers wrote on American Airlines’ Facebook page. “I again told her it was a medical device and I needed to carry it on.”
Myers said the woman then told her to check her carry-on suitcase, and Myers explained that she could not because it was holding extra breast pump supplies.
“Then she responded to me with, ‘How many boobs do you have?’ ” Myers recalled to NBC5 in Chicago. “I was speechless. If I’m not violating the rules, and I knew I wasn’t, then why am I getting humiliated in front of 50 people?”
The new mom said she gave in and checked her carry-on suitcase, and ended up being able to fit both her purse and the breast pump bag under the seat in front of her.
“This is so wrong. These items were so small that they fit under the seat. I didn’t even take any of the overhead space,” Myers said. “I started crying when I got on the flight. I was just in disbelief.”
A spokesperson from American Airlines confirmed that Myers had a correct understanding of their carry-on policy, and apologized for the incident.
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“This was an error on the customer service agent in LAX’s part, and she should have been allowed to bring those items on the aircraft,” Leslie Scott, a spokesperson for American Airlines, tells PEOPLE. “We certainly apologize for the error, and will take this opportunity to reiterate the policy so it hopefully doesn’t happen again. We have these policies in place — not to make it more difficult, but to make it easier for women.”
When asked about the attendants’ current status, Scott says American Airlines does not comment on staffing but will “take the opportunity to reiterate the policy with our team members, and hopefully this doesn’t happen again.”
Scott also says that American Airlines has reached out to Myers.
“We apologize, and we’ve reached out to her a couple of times to apologize and offer a goodwill gesture of compensation.”
However, Myers says the $75 voucher is not enough given the attendant’s comments.
“‘How many boobs do you have’? That’s just so inappropriate,” Myers said. “Employees need to be trained to prevent this going forward so it doesn’t happen to other moms or other people with medical issues.”