KLM Airlines Faces Backlash After Asking Breastfeeding Mother to Cover Up
A passenger on a recent KLM flight says she was asked to cover up while breastfeeding her 1-year-old daughter.
The woman, who refused to cover up with a blanket she was given, claims the flight attendant warned her “that if anyone complained,” it would be “her issue,” The New York Times reported.
After posting her experience on Facebook, social media users voiced their opinions on the topic. A Twitter user tweeted the airline directly, asking, “What is your policy regarding breastfeeding?”
The airline’s response: “Breastfeeding is permitted at KLM flights. However, to ensure that all our passengers of all backgrounds feel comfortable on board, we may request a mother to cover herself while breastfeeding, should other passengers be offended by this.”
That response caused an immediate backlash.
KLM maintained on Twitter that mothers are not required to cover up. “Please know that the mother is not obliged to do anything,” the company said in one tweet. “If she doesn’t want the assistance of the crew, she is absolutely not obliged to do anything other than feeding her baby.”
Other Twitter users, however, sided with the airline. According to The New York Times, a nurse from Virgina responded by saying that the airline wasn’t making “an unreasonable request.”
According to Fast Company, other airlines used the Twitter storm as an opportunity to jump in and share their own policies on breastfeeding. EasyJet chimed in saying, “we support breastfeeding mothers and you can feed your baby on board at any time.”
This isn’t the first time an airline has been called out for being unaccommodating to breastfeeding mothers. In 2017, a breastfeeding mother was booted of a Spirit Airlines flight for allegedly refusing to comply with instructions before takeoff. Another mother faced issues with a gate agent who asked her “how many boobs do you have,” while trying to board with a cooler of breast milk, a pump, and her personal belongings.
But it’s not always bad. In fact, one flight attendant actually breastfed a passenger’s baby after the mother ran out of formula on the flight.