A nursing mother who was trying to breastfeed her five-month-old daughter on an American Airlines flight from Charlotte to Des Moines claims a flight attendant told her she had to cover her breast so as not to offend men and children who were sitting nearby.
Sarah Jean was recently travelling on American Airlines flight 2962 when she claims several flight attendants told her she should cover her baby while breastfeeding in public because it was “common courtesy”.
In a now-viral Reddit post detailing what happened aboard the plane, Sarah explained how her daughter is happy, content and able to feed so long as her head isn’t covered. In fact, Sarah had allowed her daughter to openly feed on two previous flights without any problems whatsoever.
But on this occasion, a flight attendant allegedly tapped Sarah on the shoulder and said she needed to cover up because there were men and children around.
“My daughter was fully latched and had been the entire flight, so there was no nipple or even areola showing,” Sarah explained. “The top of my breast was showing, but…I mean, I used to show more cleavage on a weekend night out. Swimsuits show more.”
Sarah attempted to explain that covering her daughter would cause her to cry but she was rebuffed and told it was “common courtesy” to cover up while nursing. Two other flight attendants allegedly said the same thing when Sarah asked them what AA’s actual nursing policy was – without success.
“My baby cried for the final 45 minutes of the flight. I tried to get her to nurse covered. She refused. The people around us were clearly frustrated. I don’t blame them. I was frustrated too,” the Reddit post continued.
“I feel like I failed her. I feel like I should have refused to cover up and should have nursed her openly like I planned. I hated listening to her cry, hated struggling to hold her while her head was covered, hated dealing with back pain as I tried to hold her in a way where she’d get comfortable.”
Sarah says he was made to feel like a “pervert” by the flight attendants who told her to cover up.
In response to her complaint, American Airlines offered its “heartfelt apologies” about what happened and offered to pass on her complaint to the inflight leadership team.
The Dallas Fort Worth-based carrier did not respond to a request for comment and did not outline what the airline’s nursing policy was.
In 2021, another nursing mother claimed an American Airlines flight attendant told her that she was “disgusting” for breastfeeding her baby during a flight from Dallas Fort Worth to Atlanta.
In that incident, the flight attendant allegedly told Akeia Escobar to cover as she boarded the plane and then threw a paper towel at her child’s head in an attempt to cover her up.
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.