Flight Attendant Throws Towel On Baby’s Face While Scolding Mom For Breastfeeding

A woman’s story about being scolded for breastfeeding on board her American Airlines flight is going viral on social media.

Akeia Escobar was flying Dallas – Fort Worth to Atlanta on American Airlines flight AA980 when, she says that a flight attendant told her to “cover up [her] breast.” But her “baby was latched and [her] nipple was not visible.”

The flight attendant is then said to have,

proceeded to grab a paper towel and throw it on my baby’s face. When I walked away she yelled that I was disgusting.

…She refused to tell me her name and yelled for me to get off the plane each subsequent time I asked.

Oh, and the flight was even subjected to rolling delays.

She complained to American Airlines and says her travel party was offered $125 travel vouchers and that American would be “sending out a reminder that moms are welcome to nurse their babies.” As Escobar points out, though, if she’d thrown a paper towel at the flight attendant she’d have been kicked off the aircraft and possibly met by law enforcement.

Spirit Airlines once defended themselves for kicking off a woman who breastfed her two year crying old child. United sent a woman to the pet relief area to pump breast milk and scolded another woman inflight. So while it’s true that airlines have tens of thousands of employees, and some make mistakes, issues around breastfeeding aren’t new.

Treating this as a novel issue that requires education, as though we can’t criticize behavior because it’s not something a cabin crew member would have thought about before, is an odd take. And if the issue is lack of training, that’s something the airline should be addressing with regular recurrent training and not a memo. In my experience most flight attendants don’t internalize the messages from those, they get most of their training from flight attendant groups on Facebook.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Surprised she didn’t file a charge with the police. What the FA did could be categorized as assault.

  2. Gary will keep us abreast of the situation. No doubt she will go after AA tit4tat.

  3. I was on an ET flight some years ago. Mom and baby feel asleep while breastfeeding. It was hanging out there for anyone to see. Good thing the cabin was dark.

  4. This sounds like a bunch of lies and totally blown out of proportion. Someone has an ax to grind. Just stop it, its not a good look.

    Your blog about the crying gate agent was stolen off a private FB page without permission and that employee is being investigated and may lose her job. BRAVO GARY LEFF
    I hope this forces AA hand to ban you from AA. And your mole’s days are numbered, they are onto who it is.

  5. Just curious where a FA got a paper towel?

    This is just garbage lies.

    These are not onboard in the galley. Really? LIES LIES LIES

  6. Thanks, Gary Leff, for keeping us informed. From reading View from the Wing, I learned that American Airlines flight attendants throw paper towels at breastfeeding infants. Spirit Airlines has wannabe gang fights at their Miami departure gates. United Airlines breaks guitars. United also beats passengers like Dr. Dao until unconscious, gives him a broken nose, a concussion, and broken teeth so that United Airlines could violently remove this seated passenger and give the seat he paid for to a crew member.

    This week, Delta Airlines takes down a man who tried to open the aircraft door then diverts his flight to Oklahoma City. Then, on a different flight, Delta removes a passenger after diverting her flight to Detroit because she was drinking her own alcohol. So besides safely getting all passengers there (almost) on time, what else does Delta Airlines do?

  7. Some people say anything for attention. I’m sure if this really happened that flight attendant would have been arrested.

  8. I love “reported on social media”. It’s an one sided opinion, I agree the truth is missing in this story.

  9. Leadership comes from the top so thank Doug Parker for this one. Why has he not been fired yet?

  10. @Ken A

    I had thought that the incident involving Dr Dao on a UA flight was actually the fault of ORD airport security officers who were technically not even supposed to go onboard to engage in such activities, since that should have been under the jurisdiction of Chicago PD, instead? Didn’t that UA flight crew merely notify ORD security of an incident occurring onboard while not participating in any of the actual physical restraint activities against Dr Dao?

  11. Women can display massive cleavages and the men all gasp and clap. But when a nipple pops out the world goes berserk. Female nipples, that is. Male nipples it seems are just fine.

    Why is this a crime? What on earth is wrong with us?

  12. If a drag queen pops out a breast is that ok? Or is there a double standard. Why can a guy go shirtless but a women can not? are women better then men or should they just be paid more

  13. Great post Pete! It is 2021 why is this still an issue! This FA needs to find a new job that is not in customer service.

  14. @Curious Cat:
    You are correct. For clarity, I just found this article in Forbes published on December 20, 2017, written by Michael Goldstein – Contributor. The article is titled:
    “Biggest Travel Story Of 2017: The Bumping And Beating Of Dr. David Dao”

    This Michael Goldstein writes,
    “For those who have mercifully already forgotten, here’s a brief outline. On April 9, 2017, United wanted to bump four passengers on United Express Flight 3411 from O’Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky. The stated goal was to make room for four United employees. The airline offered compensation of $400 in-flight vouchers then doubled it, but there were no takers, reportedly because it was the last flight of the day.
    Four passengers were selected to be involuntarily bumped. Three complied, but the fourth, Dr. David Dao of Louisville, refused, saying he had to be at work at the hospital the next day.
    Airport security was called, Dao was yanked out of his seat, screaming. Dao’s face hit an armrest during the struggle. He was dragged, unconscious and with a bloody mouth, down the aisle and off the plane. Of course, passengers filmed the spectacle on their phones and the images—and the outrage—quickly went viral….” Read more at Forbes.

    Here is my correction. Let me know if you like this more.
    Thanks, Gary Leff, for keeping us informed. From reading View from the Wing, I learned that American Airlines flight attendants throw paper towels at breastfeeding infants. Spirit Airlines has wannabe gang fights at their Miami departure gates. United Airlines breaks guitars. To find a seat for a crew member, United made contact with airport security. Security then yanked paying passenger Dr. Dao out of his seat, beat him unconscious, dragged him down the aisle, gave him a broken nose, a concussion, and broken teeth. After he was violently removed from his seat and unconscious, United Airlines reassigned his seat to a crew member.

    This week, Delta Airlines takes down a man who tried to open the aircraft door then diverts his flight to Oklahoma City. Then, on a different flight, Delta removes a passenger after diverting her flight to Detroit because she was drinking her own alcohol. So besides safely getting all passengers there (almost) on time, what else does Delta Airlines do?

  15. @Ken A

    Well … your correction is much more detailed than before and also more dramatic! 😛

  16. @CuriousCat:

    Thank you. I try to emulate the writing style of the “thought leader in travel.” 🙂

  17. Yes the fa is clearly ok here. I mean, who has ever encountered a lazy, rude, uncaring,, unionized air-waitress who is told they are more than a Waitress? And even if she did it, she just needs some re training. Isn’t that what we say when appalling things happen with air wairessss?

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