California mom Lindsay Jaynes is planning a trip to Florida next month with her 10-week-old son.
Because her son won't nurse while being covered up with a blanket or take a bottle, she reached out to Delta Airlines customer service for their breastfeeding policy. She says she spent nearly an hour on hold and was then directed to tweet @DeltaAssist, the customer service account on Twitter.
Delta Assist responded, first saying she couldn't breastfeed without a coverup and then saying she would have to pump in advance and bring breast milk on board.
When Jaynes (@classichippie) pressed for a written policy, Delta officials apologized, calling the previous tweets "misinformation." This happened last Friday and later that evening, Jaynes said she got a call from Delta offering her a $400 voucher, which she says she refused.
"I just wanted a written statement that I could print out and take on the plane with me in case there were any issues, especially because of the woman who got kicked off the Delta flight a few years back," Jaynes said.
In 2006, Emily Gillette was kicked off a Delta flight for breastfeeding without a cover. Breastfeeding without a cover is legal in all 50 states. Six years later, Gillette reached an undisclosed settlement with the airline.
Jaynes says that she's been contacted by numerous mothers who have been asked to cover up on Delta flights within the past few months.
"(Delta officials) said they were going to have a meeting this week on the possibility of making a formal policy and posting it. We agreed to talk again after that."
What's not clear is whether Delta's reaction was a result of the Twitterstorm that ensued following the exchange with Jaynes. We reached out to the airline for comment, but haven't heard back. Their only statement was the following tweet sent to many of Jaynes' supporters: "Delta welcomes breastfeeding mothers and babies on our flights. We sincerely apologize for the misinformation."
Many were upset with Delta's response while others, like Mieke Jacobs Tankink, said Jaynes was baiting the airline and out for publicity. "This was a bait...to create a firestorm.... why wouldn't modesty PREVAIL. ClassicHippie needs to grow up," Tankink tweeted.
Jaynes says she just wants Delta to publish the policy and educate its staff.
Jessica Martin-Weber (@theleakyboob), who runs a large breast-feeding community and website, says she's not that surprised by the backlash or Delta's response. "This is a major company we're talking about and while it was one employee, it was an employee trusted with representing the brand publicly — a brand that has a history of inadequately training their employees which leaves the door wide open for such discrimination."
As for Delta's policy, Jaynes says she's still waiting to see what will happen, before she buys her ticket.