Monday, September 20, 2010

Rebel with a Cause :o)



This past weekend, I was almost arrested for misconduct on an airplane.  I wasn't the obnoxious drunk or a physical threat to anyone, although I wished I might have had a little buzz as I was escorted off the plane by police when we landed.  The story?


Brian and I were separated on the plane.  Brian and Rita Clare sat 4 rows ahead of me, while I sat next to a stranger (male) with Tyler.  One of the flight attendants seemed to pick on all of us, since we boarded the plane.  Is RC's car seat FAA approved for flight?  Was my mini suitcase too heavy?  Could I please make sure my bag was completely under the seat in front of me?  Could Rita Clare keep it down and stop tapping her pretzel, since it was a disruption to the rest of the people on the plane?

The kicker was when she demanded I take Tyler out of my carrier and hold him over my shoulder during the entire flight.  At this time, I was TRYING to breastfeed discreetly and Tyler was finally dozing off for a much needed nap.  At first, I was kinda nodding like ok ok I'll try and get him out when I can, attempting to stall for time.  I really didn't want to take him out.  She came back again a few minutes later asking and I said ok again but didn't do anything.  I realized then she wasn't going to let it go until I took him out, so I needed to make a real decision.

I decided I wasn't going to take him out. We've flown a bunch and this has never been brought up as a rule.  Take off, landing, and taxiing were the only times I've been told he needed to be out of our carrier.  When she came back for the third time, I told her I had decided that I was going to keep him in and would not be removing him.  She was furious and huffed about it threatening that she'd be taking this to...the captain!  As I sat there away from Brian, not being able to talk it out with him, I thought about the situation.  What's going to happen now?  Am I going to have to take this to court and make a stand for all the mamas out there that have been treated like this?  How far do I REALLY want to take this and would Brian support my decision?  Am I being rational about this or just being stubborn?

About 10 minutes later, she came back with a piece of paper stating I was in violation of federal regulations.  It also said I could be imprisoned or fined.  She came back a little later asking if I had read the sheet and snatched it back from me. I told her I'd be happy to talk to the captain about this and she snapped, "Oh you won't be talking to the captain about this..."

Here's what I came up with.  Deep down, I knew this lady was a bully and wanted to feel powerful over me and everyone else on the plane.  I know my baby was much safer and better off in the carrier at that point in time.  I also decided I was not ready to get arrested, spend a lot of time in court, and that Brian would probably ask me to not take this too far right now.  It was a tough situation for me because I do not like being unjustly pushed around and having someone demand I do something I don't think is best for my kids.

If any of you have been in a situation when you're asked not to breastfeed in an establishment, perhaps you can relate to this.  You are not weak for choosing to just leave and not put up a fight.  It's not like you say no, the police come with the news, and you walk away a hero minutes later.  It is an absolutely BIG commitment (worthy and commendable!) of time and money to make a stand....a process that doesn't work around your family's schedule.

What happened next?  Well, fortunately Tyler helped me out. Not too long after I was given the violation slip, Tyler woke up and wanted to get out of the carrier and play.  SO, I happily took him out and held him during landing and taxiing the way I was told was right.  Once we arrived at the gate, the announcer told everyone to stay seated for a couple minutes.  Then 2 officers (Armed) came on the plane and asked me to follow them.  I wish I had a camera, so I could have taken a picture of Brian's face.  His face was like, what the........?  My legs were like jelly and I really could NOT believe the attendant had called the police on me.

The officers looked at the baby in confusion and wanted to know the story.  As soon as I told them how I was breastfeeding and trying to be discreet, etc, they were pissed they'd been called for this and apologized to me.  Also, greeting me off the plane was head of airport security!  After making a statement and seeing all of their reactions, I was finally able to breathe, knowing I wasn't going to prison or fined.  In fact, they all apologized and I was really grateful for it.



I'm also going to be filing a complaint about the attendant, as a way to prevent other women from experiencing this.  She was wrong and should be held accountable for what she did.  I'm just glad I don't have to say it to a judge or be kept from my kids stuck behind bars......







Jen Starks, Owner www.ecologicalbabies.com ecologicalbabies@gmail.com 850.284.5887

127 comments:

Anonymous said...

Which airline were you flying on?

Chris said...

Wow, Jen that is insane! Good for you for standing your ground! I truly hope that attendant is severely reprimanded! How scary to be escorted off the plane!! I'm glad everything turned out okay :)

jeni said...

OH. MY. Gosh. WHAT. THE. crap. You are awesome, and I TOTALLY would have done the same thing. What is wrong with people!?!?!? Definitely get some free airfare out of this or something. That lady should be fired. Flat out fired. There are too many nice people out there who need jobs and I'm sure are better qualified. Send this blog post to a bunch of places so it gets some headlines at least in the bf community blogroll. what airline was this??

Ecological Babies said...

Delta. Thanks for the support everyone. Great idea, Jeni!

Lindsey said...

Holy Smokes. You did the right thing. Proud of you!

MermaidLilli said...

As difficult as it is to not make an issue and take a stand, I am so happy you stood your ground. This woman was indeed in her power mode and made irrational decisions. No one was complaining but her. And I thought it funny that the captain was not going to speak with you. She took it so far that due to her ego she could not back down. Dumbass!
Indeed this should go public and I commend all those who apologized to you. They are obviously not into their own ego.
We hope she grows with this experience and that she never has to face what you faced. LOVE

princess granola said...

that is freaking RIDICULOUS!!!! holy crap! i probably would have cried. held my ground, but cried. way to go for being so strong.

and oh my gosh to see brian's face! bahaha!

Tara said...

OH MY GOSH! I can't believe that happened to you! I'm so glad that everything turned out all right. Hopefully, Delta will hold this woman accountable.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm so sorry that happened to you. Did she explain why she wanted you to take him our during the flight?

Was the piece of paper that she gave you about not listening to an attendant's orders, or specifically about the carrier?

I hope you've written Delta a letter, cc:ing the local police who had to escort you off the plane, and your local newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's awful! I'm so sorry you had to go through that! Shame on Delta for not training their staff better.

MK said...

FYI, @DeltaAssist on Twitter is asking for more details/contact info (they saw my twitter post with this blog link). You might get in touch with them - maybe they will help.

Princess Pioneer said...

oh my goodness, I can just see you sitting in that seat with that WOMEN harassing you! What did the guy sitting next to you think? Was he trying to play asleep? It would have been neat if he told that WOMEN to cool it. Add to the stress of travel with kids - bitchy flight attendants who are too busy to have their own kids and are jealous of how cute the two of you looked in your pretty, colorful sling. just my opinion! lol..

Amanda Broadfoot said...

How AWFUL! I have never had a problem breastfeeding on a flight and now I feel really lucky. That lady sounds crazy. What a relief that the crazy stopped at the door of the airplane. Glad you're all ok!

Amanda
Life is a Spectrum
www.AmandaBroadfoot.com

The Eco-Friendly Family - Amanda said...

That's awful. I don't see how removing your baby from a carrier to hold him on your shoulder would help other passengers or your baby. This woman clearly needs to learn more about this and get some manners.

Good for you and babywearing/nursing mommies everywhere :) Awareness is key, and things like this (though a shame) help.

kia said...

Wow, just wow. After you file your complaint with the airline and all of that jazz I hope you will let us know what airline it was and how they reacted to your complaint. This is just too much.

Mommy of 3 said...

That is ridiculous! I really hope that the flight attendant gets in some serious trouble.

Resa said...

I can't believe any airline would treat you that way! Thank you for taking that stand - the potential consequences are SO scary, but I'm so glad the situation ended well for you.

Maureen said...

Oh my!! I think you handled it a tad bit calmer than I might have... I cannot wrap my head around this! I was relaying the story to my husband and he kept saying "What?!" "Jen?? As in the cloth diaper lady?" "With the cute little red head??" "Can't be in a sling?!?" I echo Linds and Alice... Proud of you!

Ecological Babies said...

Wow, thanks everyone for the support! What a stressful day it was. I had a rep from Delta contact me to find out more details. I'll keep you posted! Hopefully the media contacts will come through too.

It was a yellow piece of paper stating all the regulations that I might be in violation for but it was not specific to my case. In fact, I didn't even think it applied to my situation when I received it.

The guy next to me didn't want to say too much. I actually tried to talk it out with him, since Brian wasn't with me. I asked him if it seemed like she was overreacting, what he thought she'd do (worse case). He agreed that she seemed completely out of line but was definitely not advocating for me. I'd love to have a camera on everyone in the plane and then hear their thoughts. Cann't imagine what would go through my head if I saw a lady escorted off with a baby....maybe, did she kidnap that child and is getting caught? lol!

Sarah Monroe said...

I have flown Delta 4 times with my baby in a sling. Each time I nursed her during take off and landing and kept her in our sling for the duration of the flight. I was aware that I might be asked to remove her during take off and landing- but on each of the 4 flights the flight attendant knew that I was nursing a baby in a sling and not one of them asked me to take her out.
I am sure that Delta is going to have something to say to you about this. Hopefully they'll offer you something to soften the incident.
I just wonder if that flight attendant would rather have listened to a screaming child for the duration of the flight?
Crazy.

Anonymous said...

Jen, this flight attendant was plain WRONG, and I'm going to help you spread the word about how Delta screwed up here. See http://www.delta.com/planning_reservations/special_travel_needs/services_for_children/infant_child_seating/index.jsp and the FAA website at http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/ for information as to how this attendant not only did not follow FAA rules permitting use of approved car seats during take off and landing, but FAILED TO FOLLOW DELTA'S OWN STATED POLICIES ON THIS FRONT. I hope you include these in your complaint letter. Also, this may constitute wrongful arrest. Please keep us posted.

Hera said...

I had a very similar situation happen to me fours years ago when I flew with my then 3 month old daughter. She did not call the police, but I was harassed, I need to look in my files & see what airline it was...

P.S. What a load of crap! I feel for you and hope it never happens again.

Denise said...

Wow Jen, good for you! You rocked this situation for sure. Keep us posted on how this plays out!

Ecological Babies said...

You know, I really was embarrassed but most of all worried about Brian and Rita Clare since they didn't know what was going on. I was also REALLY uncomfortable the entire flight since I was breastfeeding alone on the plane and my baby had been fussing right up until that point. Maybe they'll offer a massage, since my shoulders were boulders after it all ;o)

Tanya Bell said...

I am not sure that I would just be able to drop this after the humiliation you were forced to endure. We have rights, even in the air!

Kimberly said...

Way to go Jen! You send goose bumps down my back- you handled it so well and you were so brave!

Stephanie and Mark said...

O..M..G..! That is just ridiculous what the flight attendant did! First off, I praise you for having the courage to hold yourself back because I would have FLIPPED! AHHHH!

I think you did the right thing though and karma will end up just coming back to that rude flight attendant for her rude actions. You are brave for standing your ground though and keeping calm :)

Grateful for Grace said...

How stunning! Seriously. Did you happen to get her name? Wow. What a mess and what a bully.

Kristen said...

WOW! All I can say is WOW! I don't know why, but your story gave me the chills and brought tears streaming down my face. I had a passenger complain to the flight attendant about my breastfeeding my 6 week old during a flight once. I was travelling alone with my newborn and 20 month old---and he said I should be removed from the flight until I hadanother adult with me...LUCKILY for me, the flight attendants were more than helpful, and kind and moved me to first class! I cannot imagine what you went through. Good for you for standing up and I hope you are greatly compensated.

Erin Patrick said...

That makes me so sad. I can't believe how ridiculous some people can be!!! You sound like you did great though. Good for you!

Pixie said...

Thanks for posting this. I am purchasing plane tickets this week. I will most certainly try to avoid Delta!

Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

Clicked over from a link on Twitter.

I'm so impressed with how level headed you remained and how objectively you have told your story.

What a complete wench that woman was to you. I hope that Delta comes through with a major apology and really makes it up to you somehow.

Seminole Sitters, LLC said...

I'm appalled. I'd be interested to know what in the world was on that sheet she was waving in front of you - did the gentleman next to you have anything to say, or was he mum on the happenings? What did Brian say later?

Anonymous said...

As others have said, WOW. How unsettling for you, to say the least. I think you handled the situation in the most graceful way possible, standing up for yourself but not being overly confrontational.

And although it must have been scary to be escorted off the plane by the police, I think it was a good that they met you and heard your story immediately and were able to see for themselves how horrible the flight attendant was. They probably won't forget in a hurry how she wasted their valuable time, as well as how she mistreated a passenger. If she hadn't called security, then they might not take your complaint about her as seriously. But given her overreaction to your "infraction", I think they will take it seriously.

And I, too, have taken my babies on numerous plane rides and never been asked to take them out of their carrier, except MAYBE at takeoff and landing, but often not even then.

Best wishes to you and your family. Hope you are not too shaken up by this ordeal.

Sam said...

I don't know you but wanted to say Good for you! I have nursed all 3 of my children while flying and have never had anyone say a word about it. I've also worn both boys in a wrap or Ergo while flying and was only asked to remove them for take off and landing.
I'm so sorry this happened to you. Thank you for standing up to that flight attendant.

Anonymous said...

You are an amazing woman!! Hats off to you for standing up for what's right!!! Good for you for standing up and taking a stand!!! (sidenote: I will no longer be flying with delta) God Bless you!

carlaboo11 said...

Am I understanding this correctly... you were wearing your baby in a sling during the flight and the attendant asked you to remove your baby from the carrier? I don't see how this has anything to do with you breastfeeding. You were not escorted off the plane because you were breastfeeding. You were escorted off because you didn't remove the child from the sling like the attendant asked you to. The last time I flew was 5 years ago and I was alone with my baby. I had him in a carrier and was asked by the attendant to remove him. She said that I could hold him, but I couldn't have him any carrier or device strapped to me because it wasn't FAA approved. No biggie, I held him. What's the problem? She may have had an attitude, but I don't think she didn't anything seriously wrong here.

Someone commented about car seats. This mother wasn't using a carseat. She was using a sling carrier. When I flew last, these were not allowed. Carseats are most certainly allowed and recommended. I recommend all children use a carseat on a plane. Lap babies are not safe. I did it once before I knew better. Never again.

linzbinz said...

Wow, what a psycho! I am SUPER proud of you for standing your ground! I have ALWAYS worn my baby while flying, and same as you (ok, same as you until THIS flight!) only been asked to take her out when we were taxiing, taking off, or landing. They always even specifically said, "Once we are in the air, you are welcome to wear her for the remainder of the flight." WOW. I can't believe that woman! I hope she gets in some SERIOUS trouble!

Pixie said...

@ carlaboo 11 What would be the difference in holding your baby with your arms or with a carrier? I know TONS AND TONS of people who wear there babies on a plane????

carlaboo11 said...

and just for clarification.. I am a breastfeeder and VERY open about it. I will nurse anywhere and everywhere and come unglued if someone were to tell me to not breastfeed. I just don't think this has anything to do with breastfeeding

carlaboo11 said...

@pixie. The difference is that the baby is physically strapped to you. I wish it were allowed, but it's not. I am big on babywearing. It's not my rule. Those in control of the rules have it there for a reason, though. Never the less, rules are rules and they must be followed.

joshua said...

I didn't read everyone's comments so this might of already been answered. You were sat next to a stranger, what did the stranger do/say? If anything at all?

carlaboo11 said...

oh, and some flight attendants may be less strict about it than others. I know some are very lax and some are to the T, especially if not in a good mood. If you aren't called out on it, but all means do what you think is right for you and your family. However, if someone does call you out on it, you have no choice but to follow the rules.

Anonymous said...

I hope that woman is fired! WOW!

-Mandy

Christina said...

KellyMom.com, the very popular breastfeeding website posted this blog entry on their Facebook feed. They've got over 20,000 fans on Facebook. So, the word is out now.

Do you remember several years ago, The Delta airlines stewardess kicked a mom off the plane (not in mid-flight, of course)because the mom refused to use a blanket to cover up her nursing baby. The mom was in a window seat with her husband sitting next to her. The baby at the time was 22 months old (a much larger head than a newborn) so there was no way anyone was seeing any boob. After that, breastfeeding moms everywhere showed up to airports, and had a "Nurse-In" in the Delta Airlines departure area in protest of the mistreatment of that nursing mom. It was awesome!
It's really BS that something like this happened to you. I am waiting for the day when BFing becomes the norm again.

Anonymous said...

Even when reading these kinds of stories, I'm usually relieved that most folks have the common sense to respect and give space to a nursing mother. I'm so glad the police and airport agreed it was ridiculous an that you deserved an apology. I doubt she even talked to the captain about it.

carlaboo11 said...

this is silly ladies. It has nothing to do with her breastfeeding. she wasn't escorted off for breastfeeding.

Memabee said...

Good for you, standing up for yourself and your baby.

C@mshaft said...

I tweeted this [cambryn reichert] in order to help it go viral, and FB as well! Thanks for standing your ground, we need more woman doing that in the right reasons to stand the ground for!

Hera said...

@carlaboo11 - it DOES have everything to do with breastfeeding because Jen was in the process of breastfeeding her baby when the flight attendant told her to hold the baby over her shoulder the ENTIRE flight. My breasts are huge & I can do some amazing breastfeeding positions, but I don't fathom anyone being able to nurse a child while holding the child over their shoulder...

Christy said...

I did not have time to read all of the comments so I am sure others have already suggested this but you should call all your local newstations and newspapers and even some national ones and tell them your story. It's rediculous and i am sure at least 1 station will do the story and then other stations will pick it up too!

Janel Baby Keeper said...

Wow, that's crazy. She just had an issue to take out on someone. Sounds like her superiors might not be too happy with her.

I'm curious ... when I used to fly frequently with my now 16 year old when she was under two, I could have her in a snuggly on me. Back then I flew mostly Southwest and was first to board with baby. I would bring car seat on. If they weren't full they'd just let me use the seat. No passes, you picked your seat. No one ever wanted to sit by me with a baby so I almost always got the extra seat.

I can't believe babies aren't allowed to stay in slings, FDA approved or not. If there where an actual situation -- crash landing, rough stop, etc -- a baby being merely held by the mother will fly, projectile style out of her arms. A baby in a sling at least has a chance to stay in contact with the mother instead of being projected who knows where.

Good luck with working it out ..

Anonymous said...

Carlaboo, I agree that the reason she was approached was probably not because she was breastfeeding. The author actually never makes that claim. She did, however, happen to be be breastfeeding at the time and nursing her child in the sling may have been more discreet. Since a stranger was next to her, it might have allowed for more room, with no little legs hanging in a stranger's face. As she understood it, the carrier was allowed during that time of the flight (not takeoff/landing/taxi). If her determination to keep her child in the carrier was related to the fact that she felt most comfortable breastfeeding that way, then it does relate.

I understand that the FAA does not allow use of carriers during certain times of the flight and I read Delta's rules. They mention that a carrier is not acceptable as a child retstraint/car seat. It doesn't seem as if the author was trying to use the carrier as a car seat restraint. If the rules are unclear or allow for too much interpretation, then they should be officially clarified.

realrellim said...

I think I've had a run-in with that flight attendant twin on United. We were flying with my oldest when she was a baby, and one flight attendant insisted that during taxi, takeoff and landing I had to hold her over my shoulder in some crazy fashion (it wasn't enough to hold her over my shoulder the way I'd naturally do with her head just above my shoulder--she wanted me to hold her so high that the top of her head was even with my head--and my kids are tiny so it wasn't even vaguely safe). We pointed out that we'd flown before with her and had always been allowed to nurse her and were given the FAA regulations crap (and it is crap), and said something noncommittal. After she walked away, DH pointed out that she couldn't see us from her seat, so I could nurse her then. When she walked by when we were taxing later, she told me to put her up, and I did just long enough for her to get out of sight and then went back to nursing.

I can't being to imagine someone being so awful as to call security. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that and hope she's out of a job. Plenty of other decent people could fill that position.

Pixie said...

@ Carla maybe so, but then she was apologized to when she got off the plane, and not punished If she was in the wrong then I don't think that would have happened. So it does seem to me she was targeted for some reason or another.

Claire said...

I usually travel SouthWest and it was actually suggested to me by an attendant to give her a pacifier during takeoff and landing so that her ears would adjust and when I told the attendant that I intended to nurse her, she said 'even better'. I am shocked that an attendant would be that arrogant. Once when Grete was about 18 months, she was tired and cranky and throwing a tantrum while waiting to get on the plane and they let me on early (coach of course) and I was stuck between two business men. They were not even aware that I was nursing, but every person who came on the plain commented on 'how quiet she was now' I am not sure if any of them knew why she was quiet, until half way through the flight she came out from under her blanket and wiped the milk from her cheek. The business man to my right said to me, "Oh, I wondered why she was so quiet" :)

Anonymous said...

It has been a few years, but I nursed my infants on flights with no problem and even help from the attendants. I never had a "sling". I would always book a seat with foot room ( hard to come by) so I could use a car safety seat for the baby at takeoff, landings. and rough weather. The 1st flight an attendant explained how much safer my child was in a restraint and even holding her securely was of little help in these conditions.
It certainly sounds as though this attendant needs to communicate and assist her charges.

mandymershon said...

WOW! What a horrible person! I bet this woman is the same one I read about who goes up to women in the grocery store and tells them they are smothering their babies. I hope Delta makes this right for you and I hope if I am ever faced with this kind of situation, I will have the grace and bravery to handle it the way you did!

mamapoekie said...

Being expats, we are a family of frequent flyers. I cannot count the times I have been in a similar situation with obnoxious flight attendants, from the moment I was pregnant onwards.
Sometimes I think you should be legally allowed to kill flight attendants that bully a mother with a child... but then maybe I've taken too many plane rides
You did the right thing

Jessica G. said...

It makes my stomach cringe that you were treated this way! Thank you for sharing your story and your feelings while you were going thru this. I hope this flight attendant gets reprimanded for doing this!

About flight attendants, sometimes they do weird things. A few months ago, I took a transatlantic flight (12 hours) by myself with my 8 week old. While he was safely asleep in the bassinet in front of me (provided by the airliner), I dosed off. I was awaken by the flight attendant telling me to not sleep and to watch my baby, who was still asleep. I was annoyed and mortified and spent the rest of the flight awake staring at my sleeping baby.

Alison said...

I've found there are lots of flight attendant bullies out there unfortunately. I was told the carrier rule was during taxi, takeoff and landing as well. I've also had flight attendants look at me with baby in the carrier and say, during landing hold on to her head...so its pretty poorly enforced. If you were discreetly breastfeeding and doing everything in your power to not be disruptive she should be thankful! More power to you for sticking up...I hope she gets in trouble when you file your complaint!

Dusti said...

12 years ago as a new mom, only 25 years old I was travelling to Disney World with my 2 year old. He had turned 2 the day before our flight. He was sitting on my lap and the attendant came by and asked me to put him in his seat, which of course he refused. She was so rude and not understanding at all of my barely 2 year old's fear of being forced to sit by himself and strapped to a seat for take off. At 25 I had never faced this time of thing but thankfully stood my ground explaining to her that just one day earlier it would have been perfectly fine to travel with him in my lap. It is truly amazing just how insensitive and uncaring someone can be when dealing with others especially small children. 5 kids later, I am much better at standing up for what I know is best for my kids.
So glad to hear that it worked out so well for you!

Gretchen said...

How unfortunate. Having worked in the industry I'm appalled. Granted there are people who are passengers who are rude and belligerent to Flight attendents - but the treatment you've received is unacceptable. Flight attendents are there for your safety - however that FA compromised your safety and those around you by attempting to bully you into submitting to her will, which made you distrustful, and even willing to ignore her direction - and those around you saw that, and each instance in which you refused her bullying she felt more out of control, fearing that in a real emergency you wouldn't follow her direction. If she had used common sense - she should have asked/reminded you that your son needed to be removed from the carrier for take-off/landing/taxiing. It would have served both you, your fellow passengers and the flight crew. Additionally this FA "Cried Wolf" when she informed the captain she had an unruly passenger and the authorities needed to be contacted. She not only wasted their time, but each call to the authotities has the potential to make them less vigilant. It also has the same impact on the flight crew as well, especially if this is the course of action this FA takes when she encounters what she perceives as an unruly passenger; will future aircrews take her seriously, especially if it really is a problem?

I think you did a wonderful job holding it together, for your family, and for the other passengers on the plane. Kudos to you.

I hope you got the name of the offending FA, she needs to be repremanded and Delta should offer you a written apology.

Goodluck in your next travel adventure - I hope its not as challenging as this one... I'm dreading the next flight I take with two kids - we'll be flying southwest and buying sets for both to make transporting their carseats easier.

Dana K said...

Ugh. You just got a new follower & I linked to this story from my blog. Thank god security used common sense & sound judgment...unlike that flight attendant.

Bonnie Joy Carroll said...

OMG I will be sure not to fly Delta!

Heidi said...

It sounds like the situation could've been diffused by you simply telling her you were breastfeeding instead of just saying no. Say, I'm breastfeeding, but I know I need to take him out for landing and I promise I will. She wasn't picking on you, she was annoyed you weren't willing to follow the rules. But if you're wanting to be a martyr, then no one can stop you.

Anonymous said...

The only time I've ever had a problem on a flight with a baby was when I flew Delta. I wonder if it was the same stewardess.

Otherwise on Midwest airlines and American Airlines, I've not had anyone say anything to me about having a baby in a carrier. EVEN on takeoff and landings.

But that Delta lady, she was something else. I even was challenging her actually and she told me the same thing, "yes, I CAN have you removed for violation of Federal Regulations".

I wonder if it's more that one particular woman than it is the airline complany themselves. :/

.:Heather:. said...

WOW! I am so sorry for your experience & so proud of you for standing your ground!!!

I hope your story is heard by many & you are compensated for your unnecessary humiliation!

Sarah said...

Did you tell the flight attendant you were nursing? Or did you just blatantly disregard her instructions without giving her a reason as to why you were ignoring her?

carlaboo11 said...

I've seen this posted on kellymom.com - a breastfeeding site - to "rally" people behind this. simply because she was breastfeeding. she wasn't breastfeeding the whole time. at one point she was, but then she was not. she even noted that the baby was sleeping. she was just being stubborn. she could have easily taken the baby out like requested and nursed him. THEN if the flight attendant would have told her to stop breastfeeding and move the baby there would be a major problem. the flight attendant didn't care one way or the other if she was breastfeeding (and thsi mom didn't even tell her she was breastfeeding at the point she was. rememeber, baby didn't nurse this whole time she refused to listen). the flight attendant just wanted the baby out of the sling per their rules. Like the rules or not, refusing to listen isn't going to go over well and get the rules changed on the spot. Don't get me wrong, I don't see the harm in having the baby in the sling during a flight, but it's not up to me to ignore them jsut cause I don't like them. I'm sorry, but the only thing this flight attendant did wrong was have an attitude.

And we don't know what exactly was said. This mother could have bent the truth or left out details to keep herself out of trouble. Even mentioning breastfeeding and the flight attendant telling her to take the baby out, they may have just backed off like "i'm not touching THAT with a 10 foot pole" and just told her that next time she needed to listen to the rules. I seriously doubt they were like "Oh, you poor thing! how dare that flight attendant tell you to remove your child from a sling even though it's against FAA regulations to have him in htere! We are so sorry!"

Again, don't get me wrong. I am very pro-breastfeeding and very pro babywearing. I do both. I just think this mother was being stubborn cause she didn't like the flight attendant and/or the rules.

Like I said, rules are rules and they must be followed if called out.

crazyrugby6 said...

Wow! This is nuts! I've flown with a newborn and younger baby before and I find it ridiculous and unsafe for the mom to be forced to fly with holding the baby/with the baby on her shoulder. I think that the attendent failed to follow federal guidelines regarding infants and airtravel...period!

Those making the claim that the mom was at fault because the attendent was simply pointing out the law about no using of carriers during flight are misunderstanding how this carrier was being used. The carrier cannot be used as a restraining device during flight. And I think the thought here is to avoid the use of the baby bjorn type carriers where the baby is just attached to your chest, not a sling as this mom was using. While a carseat is safest to use on a flight, lap travel is perfectly acceptable. You do not have to purchase a seat/flight for your newborn and bring a carseat! And nursing a baby in your lap covered in a sling is considered lap travel. The attendent should have suggested that the mom use an authorized harness to secure the baby to the mom so that she could comply to federal laws. They have a safety harness that attaches the baby to your lap belt for this purpose. The mom was simply using the sling for privacy.

Clearly this attendent is not a mother or has ever tried to nurse a baby in public! Shame on her for not being more helpful to the mom. There was a nicer way for her to get her point across without bullying her with the threat of arrest for her actions. I hope Delta compensates greatly for the humiliation and inconvenience and that this woman is seriously reprimanded for her actions.

Anonymous said...

Moral of the story, request that all of you be seated next to or behind each other so it's easier to communicate especially when kids are concerned. Secondly, tell flight attendants exactly what you're thinking, say I am breastfeeding right now, can I keep him in the sling? Flight attendants are servicing so many passengers with each passenger having his or own quirks and it can get really old and they do not read minds either. Lastly, rules are there for a reason.

good luck with your fight and other flights.

Emily Elizabeth said...

I have been on over 30 flights with my now 20 month old daughter, 20 of them occuring before her first birthday when she was still BFing. I used a ring sling on every flight as a nursing cover, and hold her in the carrier if I needed to. I never had her in the carrier during taxi, takeoff or landing, as FAA requires, but I had her in that sling almost every flight and never once had a problem, That's just unacceptable what happened. I still travel with her in an OhSnap backpack soft carrier and every time I board a plane with her securely on my back, I get compliments from everyone around me on what a great idea it is. Baby wearing is seriously mis-understood by mainstream as well as bfing.

Emily Elizabeth said...

@Carlaboo11 i think the overarching issue is about the way parents of small children are treated in flight, not just with BFing but with being bullied about things that are not FAA requirements. Find a statement by the FAA the forbids ring slings in flight and I'll listen to you, until then stop preaching about rules being rules, because this is NOT a rule, I've never found it on a single airlines website, only that it is forbidden during taxi, takeoff and landing, which this mother did NOT do. Let's spend the tax dollars of our federal police stopping terrorists instead of babywearing moms.

Anonymous said...

This is horrible!! I definitely hope that Delta makes it right! I hate to say this about anyone, but that flight attendant should be fired. Why is it that whenever I hear stories like this, it's Delta or United who did something ridiculous? And you were chided for the baby tapping a pretzel? That's just stupid. The baby's happy and if a pretzel makes that much noise when it's tapped, there's something seriously wrong with said pretzel.

@Carlaboo11 I have worn my baby on several flights and am intimately acquainted with the rules. Heck, at one point, I looked them up on the FAA site. I do not recall chapter and verse, but the only time a baby is not permitted in a carrier is during take-off, landing and taxi. In flight, when this incident occurred, FAA permits the use of carriers. You're right, this isn't about the breastfeeding, it is about the carrier, however the flight attendant was still wrong and completely out of line. Maybe the baby could have been easily removed, but there was no reason to while nursing, or letting the baby sleep. There have been several times that my baby has started to cry when removed from the carrier. Which I'm sure this flight attendant would have preferred.

Anonymous said...

@carlaboo11: You, my friend, are the one who is missing the point. The point was never the breastfeeding. The point was that this mother was mistreated by a flight attendant who claimed that a FAA rule had been violated, when none had been. There is no FAA rule prohibiting use of sling carriers on a flight. And frankly, having studied the actual CFR provision in question, I'm not certain an airline even has grounds to ask a parent to remove an infant from a sling carrier during taxi, takeoff and landing. Non-FAA approved child restraint systems are not permitted, but a sling carrier is not a child restraint system designed with the intent of keeping a child safe in an accident. A sling carrier is rather a mode of infant cradling, like one's arms (which nobody disputes are perfectly legal to use in flight to hold an infant).

Thus, Jen broke no rules and was wrongfully accused. End of story.

Michelle said...

Im so sorry you were put in this situation. It would have taken every fiber in my body not to mistreat the attendant back. We just flew to VA (2 1/2 hrs for us) and Jason had his seatbelt on when the light was off...but never on. Actually, he used the bathroom while the seatbelt light was on and sat on the window during landing.

Ashley said...

I swear I have had that flight attendant! I had a sleeping baby in my lap and she was insistent on me waking him up to hold him a certain way. I have flown A LOT and many flights overseas and I have never heard of that like you said outside landing and taking off. It was very annoying. I filed a complaint. I wanna say it was continental airlines. Good for you for standing up. !!

Marie said...

Thank you so much for posting your story online. I wonder how many other women have gone through tis sort of hassle? This certainly cannot be the first. I hope that attendant gets reprimanded and SHE gets handed another piece of paper with her name on it. The nerve.
You did awesome and made the right decisions for you and Tyler, and Brian is awesome for that dumbstruck look I knew we would have wanted to see.

Ecological Babies said...

Thanks everyone for sharing your stories and for your support. In no way am I trying to bend the truth about what happened. Yes, the issue is that I was wrongfully ask to remove my baby from my carrier during my flight. It isn't about the reason I had my baby in there (to breastfeed discreetly) but it is related to breastfeeding. I'm hoping Delta will step up with a response but I think I need more media help. Anyone you can pass this to will be a great stepping stone. Thanks again!!!

Paula Williams said...

Are you sure you haven't gotten enough attention yet?

Anonymous said...

If you don't like what Jen's doing, why are you posting on her blog? No one is forcing you to comment. Sheesh.

Stephanie said...

That's horrible! I didn't read all of the previous comments, but I would find and print Delta's policy on infants in lap on planes and include it in your complaint. I hope this flight attendant is held accountable. She behaved horribly to you and was outright wrong! Good luck. (I saw this post from a link on Baby Center- lots of views there!)

Anonymous said...

I call BS. Let us know what the airline's response is.

*snicker*

Anonymous said...

ITA with the post below. As a mother who breastfed almost everywhere (2 kids) and the wife of an FAA employee, your right to breastfeed was never questioned (based on your own account of the story). You wearing the carrier and refusing to follow the airline employees orders is what got you in trouble. Next time buy a seat because babies in arms become projectiles in turbulence....

"Am I understanding this correctly... you were wearing your baby in a sling during the flight and the attendant asked you to remove your baby from the carrier? I don't see how this has anything to do with you breastfeeding. You were not escorted off the plane because you were breastfeeding. You were escorted off because you didn't remove the child from the sling like the attendant asked you to. The last time I flew was 5 years ago and I was alone with my baby. I had him in a carrier and was asked by the attendant to remove him. She said that I could hold him, but I couldn't have him any carrier or device strapped to me because it wasn't FAA approved. No biggie, I held him. What's the problem? She may have had an attitude, but I don't think she didn't anything seriously wrong here.

Someone commented about car seats. This mother wasn't using a carseat. She was using a sling carrier. When I flew last, these were not allowed. Carseats are most certainly allowed and recommended. I recommend all children use a carseat on a plane. Lap babies are not safe. I did it once before I knew better. Never again. "

a tax payer said...

what an incredible waste of federal $$! your reluctance to follow federal regulations cost all of us the time of two officers who could have been doing a more important job! and the waste of everyone's time on that flight, and your poor husband... just selfish!

Taking this to the press will make you look like a tweet! spare us all please!

Sean said...

As someone mentioned earlier and posted the links http://www.delta.com/planning_reservations/special_travel_needs/services_for_children/infant_child_seating/index.jsp and the FAA website at http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/

While in flight, there are is only one regulation on how the child is to be held. During take-off and landing they must be in a restraint or held in the lap. IF they are to be retrained during the flight (NOTE THE IF) THEN they must be in a proper restraint. I would not consider the carrier a restraint as your intent was not to restrain the baby.

While I may have asked the FA why specifically she asking you to remove the child, I see nothing in the regulations that would give her a reason to ask.

Don't blame Delta, blame the FA for not properly communicating (it sounds like you are doing that so far) why she was asking you to change. As my wife well knows, you need to stand up for what is right so policies get clarified and changed for the better. If Delta doesn't work with you, then you can blame them.

Good luck!

Kathy Callery said...

I am a 61 year old Doula with 5 grown children and 7 wonderful grandchildren. I cried when I read what you went through. I am so proud you stood your ground for all our Mom's and Breastfed or not Breastfed babies who want to be safe and secure with their Mom. I do hope you do get a letter from her and the company saying how sorry they are and that she is put in her place so it will never happen again. Your baby is so lucky to have you for a MOM!!!

Ecological Babies said...

Stephanie- Where on Baby Center is it posted or linked?

Anonymous said...

in the babywearing chat group

new button said...

I came over from a link on The Bump. This is awful! I hope this attendant is made aware of current policies! And I hope you are compensated in some way for this! How embarrassing!

Ecological Babies said...

would you mind sending me a link to The Bump's page that mentions it?

Anonymous said...

It is also linked in BabyCenter communities on the cloth diaper board.

...You May Say I'm A Dreamer said...

I am a former Delta Flight Attendant and I will say this...the F/A was COMPLETELY WRONG!! Unless things have changed drastically in the last 5 years, we were trained to allow a mother to basically do what she needed to do to keep her baby safe and comfortable, as long as she didn't infringe on the rights of others (which it sounds like you did not). Also, a child tapping her pretzel...REALLY??? I only wish that had been the most annoying thing anyone had ever done. You were treated VERY unfairly and the F/A NEEDS to be written up!

Write to Delta at:
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
P.O. Box 20706
Atlanta, Georgia 30320-6001

or you can do it online at www.delta.com

Be sure to include the name (if you have it) of the F/A, the flight number including origin /destination, date of flight and as much info as you have. Also, tell them you are sending a copy of your letter to the DOT (Dept of Transportayion)...They HATE that because that's how complaints are registered...

You need to ask for compensation. If you don't ask for anything, they will not give you anything. But at least ask...like your money back, a free ticket, etc...

I'm sorry this happened to you. Delta used to be #1 in Customer Service and has really fallen the past few years. Thank you for standing up for yourself and other mothers...I'm Lee Bay's aunt so feel free to contact me if you have any other questions: CUonTV1@hotmail.com. Good Luck!
~Mary

Thao said...

Good for you, follow the complaint through. Psycho lady needs to be held accountable and be reprimanded. She was probably not BF as a baby so is bitter.

Ann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heather said...

Wow! I'm so sorry you had to deal with that nasty lady. It is unfortunate she had such an agenda to pick on you and your family. Good for you to stick up for yourself. I'm sure it was difficult. Thank you for sharing your story.

The Clearys said...

I would have done the SAME thing Mama! Kudos to you for standing up for what is right for your child. The NERVE of some people...Hope she got fired over that one!

Laura said...

I just flew Delta and was also asked to take the baby out of the sling. I was separated from my husband, nervous about flying with the baby away from him and about keeping her quiet. I filed a complaint at delta.com. I hope they look at these stories and CHANGE THEIR POLICIES! I feel babies are SAFER in the sling then in their mother's arms trying to hold onto them if there was an emergancy.

Mama1Mama2 said...

WOW! Unbelievable! Thank you for taking a stand for all mothers! Whether or not it was directly related to breastfeeding is in my opinion not relevant. You were reprimanded for something that is not against flying regulations. I have flown with my son and was always told that I can have him in the carrier except for take off and landing.

Anonymous said...

Unbelieveable!!!!!!! I hope to hell that woman got fired on the spot!!! Kudos to you mama for standing up to her and doing what was right! That blows me away, and makes me so angry for you. I'm glad nothing serious came of it for your sake!

janice said...

good on you! well done!

canadianinclogs said...

WOW!! When I had flown with Delta from Europe and back they were wonderful with me and my 3 month old. I bf'd in my seat and nothing was said. They even took her for a walk around the plane when she was fussing. I am so sorry you had to go through that!! What a jerk that attendant was. Good for you on standing your ground!

Anonymous said...

this woman should be fired

Maureen said...

Good on you Jen. I know how intimidating the thought of taking things to court can be so I understand your fears there. I find it so sad that people use (abuse) their little bits of power. The flight attendant that harassed you ought to be seriously reprimanded for her actions. Our world seems so strangely over regulated in some areas, I worry somewhat that we are being herded about and frightened by big bullys who need to be stood up to. I am very glad to see that the police officers at least had some sense!

Stone Cottage Mama said...

at least you had the wisdom to know that she was nothing more than a bully. She must of have been having a bad week and found you to be an easy target. Power struggles with a breastfeeding mom, wow, aim low flight attendant and you will go far. Well, good for her. Hopefully she feels better and more fulfilled as a human being for upholding silly ridiculous rules. Not. Love her for being an example of stupid people we still have out there.

Love you for being strong and mothering your child regardless.

Keep us updated.

Stone Cottage Mama said...

PS: Would really like to see Delta issue an statement that they will bring in lactation specialists to educate their staff and flight staff specifically.

Sentiments from Yours Truly said...

I'm so glad you stood up for what was in your child's BEST interest! So many today do not! You go Mama :))

nofixedstars said...

absolutely you should file a formal complaint...a child in a fitted carrier or sling is fairly safely restrained in the event of turbulence, unlike a child merely held in arms. the seat is recommended for takeoff & landing, of course. the FA was out of line, and delta should issue you an apology; and if this is not an isolated occurrence, their policy needs to be amended. best wishes to you!

Anonymous said...

I agree that this seems like it had absolutely nothing to do with BFing. But I would be outraged about the situation none the less because I took my 6 month old in our Ergo through out the flight, taxi, take off, and landing. And not one person had an issue with it and I even asked the flight attendants if it was ok.

MamaOnABudget said...

The same exact thing happened to me on a Southwest flight when my first born was 6 months old. She didn't call the cops, but I got the whole violation of federal law crap, you'll be arrested at a terrorist, this is for your safety as the sling strap could be caught when sliding down the emergency exit (while we're on the ground?), etc. The only difference is that when I sent my letter to Southwest, it was completely and totally ignored. I even had the passengers behind me telling her to back-off.

http://gen-here.livejournal.com/212082.html

Enjoy Birth said...

I am sorry this happened to you. I am glad that you stood up for your rights!!!

Ramblings Of A Stay At Home Mom said...

I am behind you 110%!! That attendant was nothing but a bully!!! I hope something positive comes of this (like her being FIRED) Good luck!

Brian said...

Jen and I were stunned, needless to say. For those of you who seem to find fault with her in this situation, isn't it incidents like this that mount over time and force the FAA to reevaluate its guidelines? Aren't our tax dollars what give those people jobs in the first place? This woman was obviously bringing her own baggage to work and should've left it at home.

Sherhonda said...

WOW! I first saw this story on our local news station(WCTV), but had to get the full story from this site. This is really crazy. I'll be traveling with my breastfed infant in arms in a few days from the Philippines back to Tallahassee. I hope that I don't have to go through what you went through.
~Traveling Mom

Ladyeagle said...

This was Wrong of the attendant and not very surprising with the rigid nature of people these days.

You did what was right & Delta needs to be outed !! What ever you decide to to there are many of US.."Mommas wanting to just be understood" that are behind you !!!
I say it this way, because I am a firm beliver that we should not have to justify for using slings, breastfeeding, Loving on our children in general...

We are just doing what should be done. this is coming from a mom who has 4 children & they are all attachment parented to the extreme of the term.

I am so sorry you had to go through this alone !! No other nearby passengers said anything ? The company as a whole needs sensitivity training & They need to get on it Quick !

Great Job standing up for yourself & all of us !!! Thank you

Ladyeagle said...

This was Wrong of the attendant and not very surprising with the rigid nature of people these days.

You did what was right & Delta needs to be outed !! What ever you decide to to there are many of US.."Mommas wanting to just be understood" that are behind you !!!
I say it this way, because I am a firm beliver that we should not have to justify for using slings, breastfeeding, Loving on our children in general...

We are just doing what should be done. this is coming from a mom who has 4 children & they are all attachment parented to the extreme of the term.

I am so sorry you had to go through this alone !! No other nearby passengers said anything ? The company as a whole needs sensitivity training & They need to get on it Quick !

Great Job standing up for yourself & all of us !!! Thank you

MediationMama said...

Good for you for standing up to the bully! That is completely ridiculous. I was asked to take my sleeping baby out of the carrier during take-off and I thought that was bad. How could it be safer for the baby to not be tied to a person who is tied to the seat?! I'm always terrified of the baby flying out of my arms, and I really think the FAA should consider revisiting this rule.

Rebecca said...

Good for you. I've never understood the rationale behind no sling/carrier, though I've heard it is a "rule." For the record, though, my husband had our 8 month old in a Baby Bjorn on a recent flight and the flight attendant said that he should keep the baby in it during take off and landing b/c it was safer. This made total sense to us b/c in the event of an evacuation we'd have our hands free to help our other children. I think the airlines need to be very clear and very consistent about what the rules are and why they are what they are.

PeaceLoveApplesauce said...

What a total bitch! I would have totally stood my ground!

iiixvix said...

I just flew Delta last week and they created a HUGE issue with me having my baby in a sling as well. I didn't have security called on me thank goodness, but the flight attendant did come back repeatedly over the long flight (ATL to SEA) to make sure I hadn't put my baby "back in that thing". I was breastfeeding too, and got a lot of horrible looks from people on their way to the bathroom. It was humiliating.

Schlaue_Füchselein said...

FA jobs since 9/11 are looked at a lot more seriously by all fronts, it seems, except by the passengers.. That naturally creates a lot of resentment which grates on the FA/PAX relationship. As you can see.
Being a lone flight attendant on a RJ is rough enough some days, and it is an FAA violation to ignore the security announcements of any kind. As a former Flight Attendant (FA)that was what always aggrivated me. When in flight, our jobs rest on the fact that we are solely responsible for having everything within regulatory guidelines.. (-and they DO change all the time, and from airline to airline.) And when someone blatantly defies that rule, it's frustrating. And, if madam put up a protest when asked, (just as FAs are supposed to ask ALL paasengers who are not in compliance) to perform the normal security procedures (bags within weight/ size limit, and completely under the seat), and additionally if her other children were disrupting the other passengers (and making THEM cranky, which then causes further stress and difficulty for the FA), then I can see how the FA wouldn't hesitate in taking this to the next step.. Which is precisely what she did.. That is really her only onther option when faced with that situation. It's not nice, but those are the consequences.

Jennifer Margulis said...

I am so sorry that you had to experience this. I had a similar thing happen to me, when I was traveling alone with my baby. The stewardess kept bullying me and being rude to the point of cruelty. I asked her for her name and she refused to give it to me. She told me I was a security hazard (because I had not drunk my can of tomato juice--my baby was asleep and I did not want to spill it--and put it in my bag to drink later instead of giving it to her) and she called security on me. We ended up in a heated dialogue as I exited the plane, with the security people looking puzzled. She was yelling and harassing me, I stayed calm (thankfully), and they quickly realized that this flight attendant was the problem, not me and my baby.

Honestly, it is stressful to be a flight attendant. But it is not the appropriate job for someone who wants to bully other people or who does not want to be in customer service. It's a customer service position. She should be fired for her inappropriate conduct.

And a hunger baby has the right to nurse anywhere at any time. If it makes a flight attendant or other passengers uncomfortable, they can take another plane.

Anonymous said...

I am completely in agreement with you, mom!

I noticed other comments that airline attendants have been difficult about slings lately. Is there a connection between this and the Infantino sling recall? I know there's a lot of uneducated fear about babywearing in general.

Anonymous said...

After reading all the comments, it sounds like Delta really targets mother's who use slings (regardless of their reasons i.e. breastfeeding, sleeping baby, safe, hands-free). I have a choice when I fly, and it will not be Delta. This story is outrageous.

I don't care how old you are or how many times you have flown - it's always nerve wracking and can be scary when you are flying with children. I have flown Southwest several times (with my Beco) and have been treated with the utmost respect while using my carrier and breasfeeding.

TheDabblingCrafter said...

I'm sorry this happened to you! I found your post from BabyCenter...I'm flying in a couple of weeks (alone with baby) and I wanted the low down on flying while babywearing. Thankfully I'm not flying Delta for once!

Anonymous said...

I just came across this post. How awful! I wrote a letter to Delta and told them how I feel and that I hope they will support mothers who nurse their children on flights, whether holding them or in a sling. And I said a few other things too:)