Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
A U.S. woman lost more than 140 ounces of pumped breast milk after airport security agents refused to let her take the milk onto the plane as hand luggage. Instead, Sarah Morrow of Knoxville, Tennesse was forced to check the milk as hold luggage on a recent American Airlines flight where it got lost in transit and ended up being spoiled.
Morrow had been pumping the milk for her nine-month-old baby during a week-long holiday in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for a friends wedding. What she didn’t realize, however, was that airport security rules are very different in Mexico compared to the United States.
While the Transporation Security Administration (TSA) exempts breast milk and baby formula from the 3-1-1 rule, the same exemption doesn’t apply in Mexico or many other countries. Morrow found herself with 137 ounces more liquid than she could actually take through airport security.
Morrow had been busy pumping milk throughout her week-long holiday and didn’t have any problem storing the milk in her hotel. “At the end of the day, room service would come and have gloves on, take my milk and go put it in the freezer, lay it flat for me,” Morrow told WZZM 13 News.
“It’s one of those sacrifices that you just dig your head down and you do it,” she continued.
By the end of the holiday, she ended up with 25 bags of frozen milk that she put on ice in a cooler box. It wasn’t until she reached the airport security checkpoint, however, that she realised she wouldn’t be allowed to take the milk onto the plane.
“She said, ‘No you can’t bring that,’ and I started instantly crying because there is such anxiety women have when traveling with their breast milk. She said if I had a child with me I could bring it in a three ounce bag.”
Morrow was able to check the cooler into the hold but when she arrived in Dallas to change planes there was a tarmac delay and Morrow ended up missing her connection. The cooler was nowhere to be found and eventually turned up in Knoxville the following day – by this point, however, the milk had wasted.
“Came home, opened it, all of it completely melted, completely ruined and it just devastated me,” said Morrow. “It’s an extension of you and an extension of your child. It’s what your child needs to survive.”
A spokesperson for American Airlines said of the incident: “We are sorry to hear that the customer’s bag was rerouted and we’re looking into the circumstances internally. A member of our customer relations team has reached out to the customer to learn more about their experience.”
American Airlines has offered Morrow $200 as compensation but she says she has turned down this offer.
In 2016, a U.S. mother was forced to dump 500 ounces of breast milk at Heathrow Airport in London because she wasn’t traveling with her eight-month-old baby. Heathrow said it was following government rules and that it could only allow exceptions if the passenger was traveling with their child.
Photo Credit: Markus Mainka / Shutterstock.com
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.