An Indiana mom says she was "humiliated" last week on an American Airlines flight by a flight attendant who forbade her from using her breast pump.
Dawn Brahos, 38, says she was loudly reprimanded and barred from plugging in and pumping, despite having done so on two flights a week earlier.
"It was humiliating. She kept saying I had to be mistaken, that it must have been a different airline," she said. "She was loud and cold and argumentative."
"At least a third of the people on the plane knew my business," she added of the treatment she received. "I could see them talking amongst themselves."
An American official later offered an apology to Brahos, clarifying that the airline does indeed allow breastfeeding moms to plug in pumps during flights:
"We apologize for the experience Ms. Brahos had on a recent flight. Our in-flight personnel are trained to handle these situations with professionalism and discretion."
"American does not have a policy prohibiting the use of breast pumps in-flight."
American spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said Brahos should have been allowed to plug her Medela breast pump into the electrical outlet by her seat.
A different brand of pump would have required prior approval, she said.
Dawn Brahos said Thursday that she appreciated the apology but hopes AA can streamline its policy in the future and improve employee training.
"Pumping is already awkward and uncomfortable without having to worry about the individual discretion of whoever happens to be working that day," she said.
Brahos said she pumped under a blanket without anyone noticing on her AA from Chicago to San Diego April 13. Ditto her first April 17 return flight to Chicago.
In fact, staff even allowed her to use a galley outlet to pump not once but twice because the flight was diverted to Minneapolis because of a storm.
That bad weather led American to put Brahos and her husband up in a hotel and send them Chicago the next day, which is when the incident happened:
"I started it off being quiet and discreet, but the flight attendant wasn't discreet at all. She came back three times to my seat and was really loud about it."
"She was like, 'You absolutely cannot pump.' She was just dismissing any possibility. She got angry with me and then wasn't willing to give me her name."
The mother of three said she began feeling painfully engorged, and was reliant on the breast pump to relieve pressure and keep her milk supply flowing.
Breast-feeding her 1-year-old son Adrien is important to her, she said, since research shows breast-feeding aids in vision development and hers is bad.
She said she came forward with her story from the AA flight because she doesn't want another breastfeeding mom to go through the same thing.
What do you think? Has this sort of thing happened to you?