Last updated: 10:27 AM ET, Mon February 08 2016

Shamed Breastfeeding Mom Calls Out United

Impacting Travel | Rich Thomaselli | February 08, 2016

Shamed Breastfeeding Mom Calls Out United

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

A California mother is speaking out and has started a social media campaign against United Airlines after allegedly being shamed for breastfeeding on a flight last month.

Juliet Thomson said she was flying from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles on Jan. 29 when she began to breastfeed her daughter, Charlie. A woman sitting a row ahead of her apparently complained to a male member of the flight crew saying, according to Thomson, “She's feeding her child on this plane and it’s inappropriate. You need to go tell her to put some clothes on. I will never fly United again.”

READ MORE: NYC Airports Unveil 'Lactation Suites' for Nursing Travelers

Thomson asked the male flight attendant what the problem was but he did not answer. Moments later, Thomson said a female flight attendant approached her and said, "I know that breastfeeding is natural and it’s normal to do it, but this other passenger is really offended by it so if you wouldn't mind covering up, it seems your child is sleeping."

In several media reports and a video interview with YouTube activist sensation Joey Salads, Thomson said she had already finished breastfeeding her daughter and was not showing any skin below her collarbone.

“You would have seen more if I was in a low-cut shirt,” Thomson said.

Thomson said she was unnerved by the incident, calling it “embarrassing and humiliating” as a good portion of the surrounding seats were privy to the situation.

Thomson tried to explain the situation, including telling the flight crew that her partner was not seated with her to help, but said the female flight attendant allegedly told her, “Yeah sorry about that, but your child is sleeping and this woman has a sensitivity about breastfeeding so it's best you just cover up."

Unfortunately, as Thomson said, the incident didn’t end there. The passenger who originally complained yelled to the flight attendant, “I made it clear that someone needs to tell the girl to cover up! I will never fly with United again. It's disgusting that you would let something like this go on, disgusting."

READ MORE: Illinois Law a Breakthrough For Breastfeeding at Airports

To its credit, United flight attendants did have security meet the woman at the gate to question her about her complaints, only to have fellow passengers overhear her reiterating that she would never fly United again. Later, security told Thomson that she did nothing wrong, that there is no law against breastfeeding in public.

“I cried a bit telling them how humiliating the whole situation is and that their stewards are completely ignorant to basic human laws that half an airplane had to see me get shut down for breastfeeding,” she said.

Thomson said she is taking legal action against United and has started a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #‎momsdontflyunited.

“This can never happen again,” Thomson said. “You can’t publicly shame a young mom, an elderly mom, anyone, for doing something that’s completely right.”


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