A new mother says an American Airlines flight attendant left her feeling “embarrassed and disrespected” after she was called “disgusting” for breastfeeding her baby during a flight from Dallas Fort Worth to Atlanta at the weekend.
Akeia Escobar of Marietta, Georgia claims the flight attendant demanded she cover up her breast while boarding the flight despite the fact she was actively nursing her child. The flight attendant then allegedly grabbed a paper towel and threw it at the baby’s face in an attempt to cover Akeia’s breast.
In a Facebook post, Akeia says she refused to completely cover her breast because her baby was latched and therefore her nipple wasn’t visible. When she walked away, Akeia claims the flight attendant yelled that she was “disgusting”.
“I felt embarrassed and disrespected. Especially with an American Airlines employee throwing an object on my child’s face,” Akeia said in the Facebook post. “Flying with an infant is stressful enough without having to worry about a flight attendant going against not only the company’s open breastfeeding policy, but Texas breastfeeding laws too.”
In 2019, Dutch airline KLM was slammed when a flight attendant told a nursing mother to cover her breast with an airline blanket. After that incident, AA clarified its own policy and said it supports “breastfeeding and pumping in any of our customer facilities that mothers are comfortable using – that’s inclusive of onboard our aircraft”.
At the time a spokesperson did not say how much breast was acceptable to the exposed.
Akeia claims the flight attendant refused to provide her name and covered up her employee badge when Akeia said she was going to make a complaint. The flight attendant allegedly responded by threatening to call security on Akeia when she refused to get off the plane at the end of the flight.
In a statement, a spokesperson for American Airlines told us: “We take this report seriously, and we are looking into it with our team. This is not the experience we want any mother to have while flying with us, and we have reached out to Ms. Escobar to apologize and learn more about what took place.”
The airline has already reached out to Akeia after she complained to AA’s brand protection department.
American has offered Akeia a $125 voucher for each person in her group and has promised to remind crew that mothers are permitted to nurse their children onboard AA aircraft. Akeia has been told that any follow up with the flight attendant will remain confidential.
Photo Credit: Akeia Escobar / Facebook
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.