TSA Apologizes To Nursing Mom
03.08.12 Miscommunication leads to mom having to pump breast milk in order to board plane.
TSA strikes again—just when we thought flying as an expectant woman, a breastfeeding mom or with children couldn't get any more stressful.
First, it was the strict flying regulations that made traveling with small children a nightmare. Then, it was the confusion over the amount of liquids you could bring on board.
So Amy Strand's travel tale should come as no surprise. Last week, a Transportation Safety Administration security agent at Kauai's airport in Hawaii forced Strand, an elementary school vice principal, to pump in an airport bathroom in order to even let her board the plane, MSNBC.com reports.
Strand—unaware that the no-liquids policy doesn't apply to breast milk—says that the male TSA worker told her that she had to prove to them that the empty bottles were for breast milk, according to MSNBC.com.
Apparently, the security agent was not familiar with the TSA guidelines that now allow "reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces" and are not required to be in a zip-top bag.
"He said I couldn't go through because there was no milk in the bottles," Strand says, as quoted by MSNBC.com. "But I was not going to leave a part of the breast pump behind—it cost over $200. He told me (however) that my option was to leave it behind or to put milk into it."
So she was escorted to the nearest airport bathroom, "where the only outlet to plug the pump into was by the sinks."
On Monday, a TSA spokeswoman issued a written statement in response to Strand's situation: "The passenger has contacted us with her concerns and we accept responsibility for the apparent misunderstanding and any inconvenience or embarrassment this incident may have caused her."
We all know that a breast pump can be a new mom's best friend, whether you're on the go or at home expressing for the future. Head over to our Breast Pumps 101 section for a rundown on the latest and best pumps out there now.
Check in with our Adventures in Babyland blogger about her experience flying with her then-infant son for the first time. Also browse through our Have Baby, Will Travel page for clever and portable products to simplify your vacations with your newest sightseer.
Whether traveling with a baby or as a pregnant woman, take a minute to visit the TSA's website for up-to-date details before you head to the airport. And don't forget some extra patience—you're going to need it.
—Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.