LIHUE, Hawaii — An agent at a Hawaii airport was wrong to tell a nursing mother she couldn’t board a plane with her breast pump, the Transportation Security Administration said.
“We accept responsibility for the apparent misunderstanding and any inconvenience or embarrassment this incident may have caused her,” the TSA said in a statement to KITV. The agent at the Lihue airport on Kauai mistakenly told the mother she could only bring the pump onboard if it was “medically necessary,” the statement said.
Amy Strand, traveling with her 9-month-old daughter, Eva, on Wednesday, was allowed to board the plane home to Maui only after going to a bathroom to pump and then showing the agent the full bottles. She said the agent insisted that security rules required that the device could be brought onboard only if it contained milk.
“I asked him if there was a private place I could pump and he said, no you can go in the women’s bathroom,” said Strand, a high school vice principal. The only electrical outlet in the bathroom was next to a sink facing a wall of mirrors, she said, forcing her to pump while standing in front of other women.
“I had to stand in front of the mirrors and the sinks and pump my breast, in front of every tourist that walked into that bathroom,” she said, adding that the experience left her “embarrassed and humiliated.”
Strand said the TSA has since told her the agent involved will go through remediation training and that a memo will be sent to agents at the airport about how to handle similar situations in the future.