An Airline Told a Breastfeeding Woman to Cover Up. Social Media Weighed In.


LONDON — The Dutch airline KLM has discovered itself in the course of a heated debate over breastfeeding in public, after the corporate stated it would ask ladies to cowl themselves whereas breastfeeding onboard if different passengers stated they have been offended.

The difficulty got here to mild after Shelby Angel, a girl from Sacramento, Calif., wrote about her expertise on a KLM flight this summer time in a publish on Facebook on Sunday.

“Before we even took off, I was approached by a flight attendant carrying a blanket,” she wrote, saying she was advised that if she wished to breastfeed her 1-year-old daughter, she ought to cowl up. When Ms. Angel refused, she stated, the crew member advised her that if anybody complained, it might be for Ms. Angel to take care of.

Nobody complained, Ms. Angel stated.

As the publish unfold on-line, different social media customers turned to Twitter to confront the airline. KLM’s response has been constant: Breastfeeding is allowed onboard so long as no different passengers are offended by the follow.

“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,” the airline wrote in a publish on Twitter on Tuesday.

Yet even because the sight of moms feeding their infants in public locations has change into extra widespread within the West, ladies have continued to be shamed and belittled.

Some nations have launched authorized safety for girls’s proper to breastfeed in public. All 50 states within the United States have legal guidelines that particularly enable ladies to breastfeed in any public or personal place. And in Britain, amongst different nations, it’s unlawful to ask a breastfeeding girl to depart a public place akin to a restaurant or on public transportation.

KLM’s Twitter publish on Tuesday drew hundreds of responses, a lot of them surprised and livid, asking the airline to vary its coverage — or pledging by no means to fly with the corporate once more.

“Breast feeding is the most natural thing in the world and shouldn’t make anyone of any culture uncomfortable,” Catherine Noone, deputy chief of the Irish Senate, wrote on Wednesday. “Shocking response from KLM.”

“For the comfort of passengers from racist or homophobic backgrounds would they ask people to cover skin and identifiers?” requested Chris van Tulleken, a health care provider in London, in a publish on Thursday.

Others, like Becca Brettschneider, a nurse from Virginia, known as the airline’s method “not an unreasonable request.”

As questions saved coming in, KLM repeated its message. On Thursday, a spokeswoman didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Some Twitter customers turned to KLM’s rivals to ask about their very own breastfeeding insurance policies.

British Airways wrote in a response on Thursday: “We carry thousands of infants and their families on our flights every year, and we welcome breastfeeding on board.”



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