Alyssa Milano Tweets Frustration After Heathrow Airport Confiscates Breast Milk
Heathrow Airport messed with the wrong nursing mom.
Possibly the unofficial celebrity spokeswoman for breastfeeding (see here, here and here), Alyssa Milano is serious about nursing. And a romantic getaway with her husband wasn’t going to get in the way of her pumping schedule; she made sure to pump on the plane, which she says, wasn’t easy.
What happened next? The London airport confiscated 10 ounces of her pumped milk. And she took to Twitter to make it clear she wasn’t pleased.
We were wondering if there’s any validity to Heathrow’s claims. Do UK flying guidelines make this liquid restriction clear?
Heathrow responded to Milano, essentially reiterating their policy again and again:
If you pack liquids in your carryon, you must separate them into containers of 100 milliliters (about 3.4 ounces) or less, and all containers need to fit within 1 liter clear plastic bag, measuring about 8 inches x 8 inches.
“Liquids in containers larger than 100ml generally can’t go through security even if the container is only part full. There are some exemptions,” the guidelines on UK.gov state.
One of those exemptions? Baby food and milk.
“When traveling with a baby you’re allowed to take enough baby food, baby milk and sterilised water for the journey. In some cases this will be over 100ml,” the guidelines say. “Airport staff might need to open the containers to screen the liquids at the security point.”
The key phrase here: “When traveling with a baby.” The Heathrow Airport guidelines make the distinction even more clear:
“The following exceptions may be made to the 100ml rule,” the website says. " Baby food or baby milk: This exception is only permitted if you are travelling with a baby or infant. Please carry only what you need for your journey and, to assist security screening, please do not carry these items in a flask. If you are not travelling with a baby or infant, excess liquids should be carried as hold luggage. You may also wish to take advantage of our pre-order service for collection after security by calling us on 0800 678 5324 or email us."
So that’s the rule. But is it warranted? Milano also wondered why her milk wasn’t screened, as it should be, but tossed out:
But ultimately, Milano says the joke’s on Heathrow; she managed to get milk on the plane in her own way.
It’s important to note rules for traveling vary internationally, which likely contributed to Milano’s frustration. In the United States, TSA guidelines allow you to carry on more than the normal 3.4 ounces of liquid for breast milk or formula, with or without a baby present.
“Travelers flying with or without a child may bring medically necessary liquids, such as formula, breast milk and juice, in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces in their carry-on baggage,” the TSA site says. “The formula, breast milk and juice need not fit within a quart-sized bag. Travelers are encouraged to travel with only as much formula, breast milk and juice needed to reach their destination.”
Consider this a lesson in international travel. Whether or not the different policies are fair is another question.
Tell us what you think.