A mother attempting to board a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Minneapolis says the airline refused to allow her to bring her breast pump on board, even though it was packed in her carry-on suitcase.
Lauren Modeen claims Delta’s gate agents wouldn't let her board Flight 2034 on Jan. 19 because she had exceeded their policy of allowing passengers one carry-on bag and one personal item, even though the mom insisted her breast pump was considered a medical device, reports KFOR. She also says she was carrying her purse and a cooler with ice packs for her breast milk. Delta reportedly allows passengers to carry medical devices, strollers, and other equipment on board, but it is uncertain whether breast pumps are considered “medical devices.”
At first, the agent reportedly told Modeen she would have to consolidate her luggage. But next, she reportedly told Modeen that her computer was generating a message that said all passengers starting with her would have to check their bags, reports Fox 13. She says she was forced to put her breast pump in a suitcase, but then became confused and angry when she saw other passengers behind her on the jet bridge with their carry-on luggage in hand.
Witness Peggy Flanagan confirmed that she heard a gate agent and supervisor telling Modeen she couldn’t bring the breast pump on the plane, but that she noticed at least five available spots in the overhead bins once she boarded the flight.
“There was no initiative to help her,” Flanagan said.
Modeen tweeted about the incident because, she says, she wanted to increase awareness about nursing mothers' rights to breastfeed and pump on airlines. She created a Facebook page called Boobs on Board, in which she encourages various airlines to post about their nursing policies in the aircrafts.
Delta spokeswoman Lindsay McDuff provided a comment about the incident in an email.
“Delta supports the rights of women to breastfeed,” McDuff wrote. “Breastfeeding and breast pumps are permitted aboard any Delta flight and in Delta ground facilities. We have apologized to the customer for her experience.”