A commuter airline has disciplined a flight attendant who ordered a passenger off a plane for refusing to cover herself with a blanket while breast-feeding her toddler, the airline said Friday.
Freedom Airlines spokesman Paul Skellon did not specify the discipline in an e-mail announcing the action against the employee who had Emily Gillette, of Santa Fe, N.M., removed from the plane Oct. 13 at Burlington International Airport.
Gillette, 27, said she was breast-feeding her 22-month-old daughter in a window seat in the next-to-last row, with no part of her breast showing and her husband between her and the aisle.
The flight attendant tried to hand her a blanket and told her to cover up, Gillette said. She declined, telling the flight attendant she had a legal right to nurse her daughter. Breast-feeding is protected under state law.
The case received broad news coverage this week, days after Gillette filed a complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission. On Wednesday, about 30 parents and their children protested the airline’s treatment of Gillette by staging a “nurse-in” at the Burlington airport.
Skellon said that after the flight attendant ordered Gillette off the plane, the captain of the Delta Air Lines flight being operated by Freedom apologized and asked her family to reboard, but they refused.
Gillette, however, said the airline never offered her a chance to get back on board the New York-bound plane. “I would have jumped at the opportunity,” she said.
Delta paid for a hotel room and rebooked the family on a different airline the next day.