A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Freedom Airlines: Not so free?

Okay, now, I am FAR from being a La Leche League activist, but this is too much:
A commuter airline has disciplined a flight attendant who ordered a passenger off a plane for refusing to cover herself with a blanket while breast-feeding her toddler, the airline said Friday.

Freedom Airlines spokesman Paul Skellon did not specify the discipline in an e-mail announcing the action against the employee who had Emily Gillette, of Santa Fe, N.M., removed from the plane Oct. 13 at Burlington International Airport.

Gillette, 27, said she was breast-feeding her 22-month-old daughter in a window seat in the next-to-last row, with no part of her breast showing and her husband between her and the aisle.

The flight attendant tried to hand her a blanket and told her to cover up, Gillette said. She declined, telling the flight attendant she had a legal right to nurse her daughter. Breast-feeding is protected under state law.

The case received broad news coverage this week, days after Gillette filed a complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission. On Wednesday, about 30 parents and their children protested the airline's treatment of Gillette by staging a "nurse-in" at the Burlington airport.

Skellon said that after the flight attendant ordered Gillette off the plane, the captain of the Delta Air Lines flight being operated by Freedom apologized and asked her family to reboard, but they refused.

Gillette, however, said the airline never offered her a chance to get back on board the New York-bound plane. "I would have jumped at the opportunity," she said.

Delta paid for a hotel room and rebooked the family on a different airline the next day.

You know, it's hot already on planes when they're sitting on the tarmac. Put a blanket over someone's head when they're already up against another warm body, and it's like a Midwestern summer--hot and humid. If no one could see her breast, then she shouldn't force her baby to eat under conditions approximating a sauna. I remember when I used to sit in grody mall bathrooms to feed my newborn, being completely grossed out by the idea of where I was, and a group of elderly ladies came in and said, "Oh, honey, you shouldn't be sitting here! It's disgusting!" I couldn't have agreed more.

I don't believe in waving one's breasts around like the American flag. However, it sounds like she was being very discreet and doing what she is supposed to do for the best health for her baby.

Frankly, it sounds like the flight attendant was offended by the mere idea that Gillette's breasts were being used for the reason God put 'em there in the first place. "Gasp! Somewhere, under the baby's head and her shirt, her breasts are NAKED!" Here's news for ya-- we're all naked under our clothes anyway. There is nothing prurient about breastfeeding. It's not like she was slithering around on a fire pole or prancing around in a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader outfit! You see far more cleavage at a football game than you see when a woman is breastfeeding a baby.

I guess the flight attendant would rather have endured a screaming, hungry baby for the next several hundred miles.

How ironic that employees of Freedom Airlines apparently aren't so interested in the rights of mothers and children.


At 11/18/06, 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is some irony... no wonder the rest of the world is bemused at our taboos.

At 11/18/06, 10:22 PM, Anonymous Polski3 said...

Purtianism still reigns in the minds of some people....I wonder if it was a male flight attendant?

At 11/18/06, 10:27 PM, Blogger Mister Teacher said...

Lactivists of the world, unite!

Your post touched a few nerves. First off, I DO like to see breasts waving in the breeze like the American flag (makes me salute). Second, damn I miss dating my Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader...

At 11/18/06, 10:41 PM, Anonymous Teacher with a Toddler said...

My toddler's two now, and I breastfed her last year on a plane ride to Europe. It was the only way she'd go to sleep!

People are freaks about breasts. Makes me wanna squirt someone in the eye.

At 11/18/06, 10:58 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

TWT: You know, I managed to breastfeed mine until they were all 1. I admire anyone who can make it for two years.

People ARE stupid about breasts.

mister teacher, that's just WRONG.

polski, apparently it was a woman.

At 11/20/06, 4:29 PM, Blogger The MAN Fan Club said...

What is the accepted age cut off for breast feeding? I do know that it is a great diet plan for the mother. At least it was for my wife when she nursed.

At 11/20/06, 7:09 PM, Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

The accepted age cutoff is (1) dependent on who you ask, and (2) when the mom decides to stop nursing.

I do not understand why people who don't want to see "that" can't find somewhere else to look. Really. You have 360 other degrees in the horizontal plane to direct your eyes.

At 11/21/06, 12:07 AM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I did one year, which was hard, because I had a fulltime job outide the home, so we also supplemented. But my kids have had a total of three ear infections among them.

The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends two years for breastfeeding. Some people do longer. I don't know how.

But one again, no one was being bothered by this except for the flight attendant. And how can this discomfort with feeding a toddler be justified? Idiotic prejudice.

I agree with Laura-- if it bugs you, don't look. Because that baby needs to be nursed whether anyone likes it or not, and the alternative is a screaming child for untold minutes bothering EVERYONE on the flight. Not to mention the upset to the child.

At 11/21/06, 8:19 PM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

Isn't that what breasts are FOR?

At 12/4/06, 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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