Woman Kicked Off Flight for Breastfeeding Her Crying 2 Year Old

A woman traveling with her elderly parents and her two year old was kicked off a Spirit Airlines flight. Spirit says it’s for failing to follow crewmember instructions. But the crux of the matter is what were those crewmember instructions.

Since it was Spirit Airlines, the flight was delayed. She “unbuckled her child and began breastfeeding since the plane was still boarding” and her son was hungry.

She said that’s when flight attendants showed up and told her to buckle her son back into his seat. She asked for a few more minutes to feed her son so that he wouldn’t be fussy during the flight.

Flight attendants called the captain, but by then she had already “buckled her son back into his seat” nonetheless she was ordered off the aircraft.

Here’s the altercation between the airline and the woman who was ejected after she had gotten off the aircraft. She says she just wants to know what rule she had broken, they repeat ‘refusing to follow flight crew instructions’ but what instructions? It is impermissible to breast feed a child? Or it is against airline rules to fly with a crying baby?

And here’s the longer version:

In fairness to Spirit, here’s their highly non-responsive response to the matter:

“To protect the safety of our guests and crew, FAA regulations and airline policies require all passengers to stay seated and buckled during takeoff and landing. We apologize for any inconvenience to our guests. As a courtesy, we issued a full refund to the passenger in question.”

Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo

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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  1. Something lost in the translation here. If the plane was still boarding, how can it be in the process of take off or landing?

  2. This is a pretty good reason to feed milk formulas to babies instead of following the breast trend that is always in the news nowadays.

  3. Lack of Spirit, Spirit-filled, Spit-fire, . . . guessing what this airline, stands for.. and since when, they got into the business of transporting cattle, securely and fully compliant. The full length video, just goes on to show their inhumane side. They deserves much more than an apology and a refund!!

  4. Horrible!!!!! Will never fly Spirit or recommend. Few minutes breastfeeding would calm child and not disturb others. Instead your staff had it out to get this woman.

  5. I assume this was taken at the gate and there’s a spirit plane in the background, the woman is saying that she needs to get on the flight so I assume the plane has not yet left and clearly there are still passengers boarding… afaik seatbelts are required before pushback – ie once doors are closed. Why was she kicked off when seatbelts are not required? If a crew tells me to put away my phone while boarding and I reply let me just finish this call and hang up before they come back while the boarding process is ongoing am I going to be kicked off?

  6. The instruction she failed to follow was to buckle up. She thought she was important enough to negotiate the length of time a plane full of people should wait while she fed her child. She was not that important (although it would doubtless come as a shock to her) and was ejected as a consequence. Spirit behaved quite professionally onboard in this case and acted as the agent for for other passengers on the plane in the actions it took.

  7. @Samuel: Did you see in the video how she thought she was so important she could block other passengers? What a fathead!

  8. It would be interesting to know if this was an overbooked flight and Spirit got away with a simple refund rather than denied boarding compensation. to other pax.

  9. A few more minutes and a little understanding on the crews side could have avoid this whole incident.. If they were still boarding I’d guess they had those extra few minutes.

  10. Flight crews are little gods who do make big mistakes. Giving a full refund does not fix the inconvenience for getting removed from a flight. How does flight crew get trained to make better decisions. There should be penalty for the flight crew. Would not want to fly with that captain. Not good judgment.

  11. Disgusting! Spirit should be ashamed of their attendants actions! It’s hard enough to travel with little ones. No need for flight staff to make it harder. It is a necessity for some. So sorry to bother all so that we also can visit our family & friends like t everyone else !

  12. Follow the rules! She inconvenienced a plane full of people! Give me a break!! If you won’t give a 2 year old a bottle then next time maybe come prepared…. pump some milk for the trip! Thus is so stupid. Ridiculous!!

  13. Wait, the child was 2 years old? I’m all for breastfeeding, but isn’t that beyond normal weaning age?

  14. @achalk I don’t see a hint of professionalism, in the approach, the Spirit crew seem to have taken. To lot of corporate fatheads who have to unhappily put up with a crying baby onboard, yes this does seem to be a lot of inconvenience (btw there are all in for the MILE HIGH CLUB)..
    Getting in the way of others, to get what she rightfully deserved and for what price should could afford, is no crime. Had there been two handful breastfeeding mothers, on that plane; Spirit would have made it all about their empathy towards customers, and how they stand beside them. This is “targeting the weak”, and citing them an inconvenience; so they can appear operationally quite good.

    @ Tom, there isn’t a round figure period for normal weaning. History and Science support the need for it, even beyond 2 years of age, sometimes up to 5. My guess would be, the new age airlines and all the security protocols around them must have had a great effect, in reducing this number below two. How times change? Maybe in the near future, we can expect to see an on-board FREE WIFI bonus, a)to those who can pull off their support for feeding mothers, B) or to mothers, who can manage to keep their kiddos shussh for an entire flight length, if those are the things that really matter.

  15. A 2 year old should be able to be calmed by means other than the beast. Give the kid a sippy cup and a new quiet toy. Breast feeding a toddler in public is ridiculous.

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