@AmericanAir flight #1243 from LAX to ORD supervisor Juliette yelled at me “how many boobs do you have?” when trying to carry my breast pump onto the flight. #AmericanAirlines #harassment #breastfeeding #pumping #Disrespect
On May 6, Myers was travelling from LAX to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport with a friend when an employee stopped her from boarding Flight 1243 with her carry-on, a personal item and a breastfeeding bag, claiming that she had “too many” items.
When a supervisor arrived to resolve the matter, the woman chastised Myers before 50 of her fellow passengers and mockingly asked “How many boobs do you have?” in reference to her belongings.
“As a new mum, I’ve been nervous travelling, so … I made sure everything I was taking was OK. I did the same this past weekend when I left him, and had to pump all weekend, so what I was bringing was allowed,” Myers told Fox News.
“We got to the gate, and there ended up being a two-and-a-half hour delay, and I had to pump on the plane. I went to board and the attendant stopped me, saying I had ‘too many bags’.”
Explaining that she had a carry-on, a personal item and a breast pump, the American Airlines staffer Myers identified on Facebook as Daniel insisted “No, you have to check that bag”. Maintaining that she did not, Myers said that Daniel told her to “step aside” as he phoned the supervisor.
“I was anxious to get on the flight because my girlfriend was on the flight with me, and I didn’t have a seat next to her, and to help a little bit with privacy, I’d rather have her next to me than a stranger, to see if the person sitting next to me would switch seats with me,” Myers shared.
Further revealing that Daniel was rude to her as they waited for the manager, initially ignoring her questions and yelling “You’re interrupting my boarding process,” Myers said things only got worse when a supervisor named Juliette arrived.
“She doesn’t even ask me, ‘What do you have? What’s going on? What’s the problem?’ she just says, ‘You need to check the bag.’ I’m like ‘No, I don’t, this is a breast pump, I need to bring this on with me’,” Myers recalled.
She explained the situation and confirmed to Juliette that she did indeed have additional breast pump supplies in her carry-on, when the American Airlines staffer condescendingly asked, “How many boobs do you have?”
Appalled, Myers and her friend were left speechless.
“Everyone was flocking around the gate, anxious to get on the flight, there were literally only 50 people in front of her,” Myers said of the embarrassing scene. “I have never felt more harassed, disrespected and humiliated in my life. I’m shocked that a supervisor would show such disrespect. I’m also very surprised that a supervisor would have no knowledge of what seems to me like a simple policy,” she later wrote on Facebook.
Myers said that when she finally stepped on to the plane, there was “lots of overhead bin space,” as “one guy even came on with a skateboard and two bags”.
“Do I want to be carrying around 60 ounces (1.6 litres) of breast milk and ice and a pump? No, I’m doing it for my baby. I was already stressed to be away from my baby, stressed about the pump, and to have to deal with people who are so are disrespectful and a woman on top of it, it’s kind of mind-blowing,” Myers told Fox News.
Later sharing her story on Twitter, Myers said that a customer service representative for the airline reached out, saying “We’re sorry about what happened, we want to offer you a $US75 ($A100) voucher,” to which Myers said she laughed.
“I don’t even care about the money, I want people to be held accountable for what happened, I want an apology, I want people to be trained so this doesn’t happen again,” she said.
“The fact that [American Airlines] told NBC that they had compensated and apologised, I hardly call that either. A voucher for an airline that I’m never going to fly again, what does that do for me?” Myers mused.
“I just hope that there can be light brought to this situation and other people don’t have to be humiliated like I was,” she said.
American Airlines returned Fox News’ request for comment with the following statement:
“A breast pump is considered a medical device and is allowed as a carry on item. We continually strive to make sure that our team members understand this policy and treat all of our customers with dignity and respect,” a representative said. “We have reached out multiple times to Ms. Myers to apologise and offer compensation as a gesture of good will”.