Lindsay Jaynes was just trying to be a responsible, informed mother to her 10-week-old son, when she sent a tweet to the Delta Airlines Twitter account. There was airline travel in her future and she just wanted to make sure she was as prepared as any mom can be when traveling with an infant. Her tweet read, simply, “What’s your breastfeeding policy?”
Jaynes actually invested an irksome hour on hold with the airline’s telephone-access customer service department. It was after the long wait that she was told to take her question to Delta’s Twitter account.
The tweet session continued back and forth between Jaynes and the airline but it drew a crowd, as so many things do on an open forum as popular as Twitter. Before the exchange between Jaynes and Delta Airlines ended, the airline’s apparent breastfeeding policy had unleashed quite a Twitterstorm.
Delta customer service tweeted back that Jaynes could breastfeed her baby but only under cover. Jaynes questioned this because her son just won’t cooperate at feeding time when he’s in hiding.
Delta suggested pumping breast milk in advance and feeding him from the bottle during the flight. Nope. Jaynes’ baby boy won’t feed from a bottle.
Jaynes was assured this was the airline’s policy on nursing babies on board so Jaynes asked for a written policy statement as confirmation. She didn’t get it.
Later that evening, Jaynes did get a phone call from an official at Delta Airlines. The official apologized for Jaynes’ Twitter experience and offered her a $400 travel voucher for her troubles.
Jaynes refused the voucher. She didn’t want money. She wanted to fly safely and legally with her infant son. According to Jaynes, "I just wanted a written statement that I could print out and take on the plane with me in case there were any issues, especially because of the woman (Emily Gillette) who got kicked off the Delta flight a few years back."
The airline official finally told her the Twitter session was based on misinformation, that the airline has no official written policy on breastfeeding. The official also said the company was meeting the following week to discuss publishing an official breastfeeding policy. Jaynes agreed to resume the conversation after that meeting.
Meanwhile, Delta tweeted an apology that included the statement “Delta welcomes breastfeeding mothers and babies on our flights.”
The Federal Aviation Administration, governing all air travel in the US, does not have an official policy on breastfeeding. Public breastfeeding is legal in all 50 US states. Forty-five states have policies that specifically allow breastfeeding anywhere.
As of this writing, Jaynes is still waiting to hear back from Delta. She won’t buy a ticket until she does.
Source: Gates. Sara. “Moms Call Delta Airlines’ Breastfeeding Policy Into Action.” HuffPost Parents. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. Feb 21, 2014. Web. Mar 6, 2014.