Spirit Airlines removed a breastfeeding mother, her son, and her elderly parents for refusing to follow crewmember instructions. I believe this action was justified.
Oh no, don’t worry…this isn’t going where you may think.
Not that it matters, but I happen to think public breastfeeding is a good thing and am ashamed at how much the practice is often sexualized in the United States.
So no, this wasn’t an issue of a woman being removed for public breastfeeding or else I’d be behind her 100%.
Instead, this appears to be an issue of a woman repeatedly flouting crew member instructions.
Mei Rui claims she just wanted to breastfeed her son before the flight took off to keep him quiet. After the aircraft door closed, FAs asked her to stop breastfeeding because the child had be more securely strapped in for taxi and takeoff. She asked for more time.
This is where the stories diverge.
CBS News covers the incident–
Rui claims she followed crew member instructions, but the crew simply wanted her son off the plane. She added that he was screaming loudly.
Spirit claims Rui put the safety of everyone at risk:
Our records indicate a passenger was removed from Flight 712 after refusing to comply with crew instructions several times during taxi to runway and safety briefing. To protect the safety of our guests and crew, FAA regulations and airline policies require all passengers to stay seated and buckled during takeoff and landing. We apologize for any inconvenience to our guests. As a courtesy, we’ve issued a full refund to the passenger in question
If true, Spirit was 100% justified in removing the passenger, if for no other reason than she put her own baby at risk by refusing to properly secure him for takeoff.
I feel bad for the baby, who must have been quite hungry to scream so loud. Nevertheless, takeoff is not the ideal time to breastfeed. If Rui refused to wait 10-15 minutes, Spirit was justified in removing her from the flight. I know, I know. Try telling a screaming baby to wait 10 minutes to eat. But that is not Spirit’s problem.