When Alix Anfang boarded a plane last week, she assumed she’d be able to pump breast milk in the airplane’s bathroom. Much to her dismay, the outlets in the restrooms weren’t working during her flight. Not comfortable pumping next to strangers, the mom scrambled to find an alternate plan. Anfang quickly came up with a Plan B—she would switch seats with her in-laws, who were sitting in first class, while she pumped. Delta, however, was not having it.
As all frustrated passengers do, Anfang took her woes to Twitter and called the airline out for refusing to work with her. “Hey Delta, the outlets in the bathroom [are] not working so can’t pump except at my seat in front of strangers,” she writes. “Tried alternative but you won’t let me sit in my in-laws‘ first class seat to do it privately”
The Delta Twitter account responded to her note, apologizing for the problems with the bathroom’s maintenance, but reiterating that she couldn’t move her seat to pump.
“Hi Alix, I do apologize regarding the outlets on working in the bathrooms. Can you please DM your flight information? I would be delighted to forward this on to maintenance. Regrettably, you would not be able to move to the first class cabin to pump,” Delta’s response reads.
“But what do I do right now to feed my 4-month-old on a nine hour flight,” the frustrated mom asks. The Delta Twitter account suggested she talk to a flight attendant about sitting in the back of the flight to pump. Anfang let the account know she tried doing that, and the crew wouldn’t let her. The Delta Twitter account couldn’t offer much help after that.
“Again, I am truly sorry for the experience you are having while traveling with us. I regret helpful options weren't offered,” the tweet reads. “Please know we understand the importance of being able to care for yourself and your baby.”
Many replied to the tweet, appalled by Delta’s lack of assistance for the mom.
“This is awful! Give her options now! Direct flight crew to take care of this! Are you really suggesting a 4-month-old not be fed for nine hours because we don't want to inconvenience first-class passengers,” asks one user.
“We’re sorry for any inconvenience or discomfort our customer felt during her experience. Delta’s flight attendants aboard flight 413 from Nice to JFK worked directly with her to provide a number of options and found a private alternative to enable this customer to pump during the flight. Unfortunately, the power outlets on board this aircraft and in general are not equipped to operate a breast pump or other similar medical devices," Delta said in a statement, according to NBC New York.
Anfang denies these claims and says no solution was offered to her, NBC News reports.
The situation was eventually remedied, according to the mom’s most recent update on Twitter. “I appreciate people agreeing this in an important issue,” she writes. “I spoke with two Delta reps who thanked me for speaking out and promised they’d do better in the future.”
By now, you’ve definitely heard your fair share of airplane nursing horror stories. Rest assured, these frustrating situations aren’t the norm. Plenty of new moms have flown and lived to tell the tale. In fact, when one mom ran out of formula milk mid-flight and couldn’t soothe her crying baby, a flight attendant stepped in to nurse the hungry child.