We just all need to remember this when he runs for office.
Last week the news broke about how a woman and her husband boarded a Freedom Air flight operated as a Delta Connection flight in Burlington, VT on Oct. 13. Seated in the window seat near the back of the plane, Emily Gillette apparently then began to breast feed her 22-month prior to departure.
Gillette says that she took care so that no part of her breast was showing.
But after a period of time, a flight attendant came and offered a blanket, asking Gillette to cover up.
At this point, the story becomes the usual she said, she said, with Gillette claiming that she did not want to use a blanket, and the flight attendant apparently insisting that she did use the blanket …or else.
That “else” then became a Delta ticket agent, who came onboard and asked Emily and her husband to get off the plane.
Gillette filed a complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission regarding the incident. She says that a woman’s right to breastfeed wherever she is legally allowed to be is protected in Vermont under the Public Accommodations Act.
Not surprisingly, when news of the incident broke last week, it ignited a wildfire of protest from various women’s groups. A protest of nursing mothers was held Wednesday at the Burlington airport.
Tuesday, nursing mothers and their supporters will be gathering at 10 am for nurse-ins at Delta Air Lines’ airport counters across the country to protest Delta’s having kicked the nursing mother off of a flight.
Of course, this is just yet another example of why you need to choose your codeshare partners carefully. I’m sure Delta appreciates this –and right in the middle of the Thanksgiving travel rush.
While Delta had nothing directly to do with the incident, it was their codesharing partner who did.
Freedom Air, the airline directly responsible, is a Mesa Air Group (MESA:Nasdaq) operation.
Last week, Paul Skellon, who was identified by the AP as a spokesperson for Freedom, was quoted as saying,
“A breast-feeding mother is perfectly acceptable on an aircraft, providing she is feeding the child in a discreet way,’ that doesn’t bother others. She was asked to use a blanket just to provide a little more discretion, she was given a blanket, and she refused to use it, and that’s all I know.”
Not the way I would have handled the situation.
Today, almost a week later, Mesa finally managed to get a press release out — in which Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein made the comment, “So there is no confusion, I would like to let folks know that we firmly support mothers’ right to nurse their children on board our aircraft. We have no company policies whatsoever that hinder breast feeding in any way.” He then went on to blame the incident on a relatively newly hired flight attendant.
The airline should have been out front and center on this long before now. And in the right way.
Now it’s turned into a national fiasco. And for Delta as well.