New York, Mar 7 : The Transportation Security Administration of the US has apologised for humiliating a mother of four by forcing her to pump breast milk in a crowded airport bathroom in order to satisfy a clueless officer.
Amy Strand, an elementary school vice principal, was trying to follow the no-liquids policy when she poured out her bottles of breast milk before boarding a plane home to Maui, Hawaii after a business trip.
Strand didn’t have to do this - according to TSA guidelines, it’s allowed in “reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces” and is not required to be in a zip-top bag, the New York Daily News reported.
However, a TSA worker at Lihue Airport in Kauai told her that she couldn’t board the plane with the empty bottles and pricey breast milk pump.
Strand told the ‘Today’ show on Monday that the male TSA worker told her she had to prove to them that the empty bottles were for breast milk.
“He said I couldn’t go through because there was no milk in the bottles.
“But I was not going to leave a part of the breast pump behind - it cost over 200 dollars. He told me that my option was to leave it behind or to put milk into it,” she said.
There was no private area, so the TSA officer accompanied her to the public ladies’ rest room, where there was an outlet for the pump.
Aghast and mortified, Strand was forced to pump her breast milk in the crowded ladies’ room.
“I had to stand at the sink in my heels and dress pumping as travelers came and went… I was humiliated and fighting back tears,” she said.
Once the bottles were filled, she was allowed to board the plane, which she also found baffling.
“It really confuses me as to how an empty breast pump and cooler pack are a threat to national security and 20 minutes later, with milk, they no longer pose a threat to national security,” Strand told ABCNews. com last week.
She also noted that she had no problems getting the bottles and pump through security on the previous leg of her flight.
Strand received a written statement from Lorie Dankers, spokeswoman for the TSA’s Northwest Region on Monday, accepting responsibility for the “apparent misunderstanding” and “embarrassment.”
Strand said that the officer should have been more familiar with TSA policies.
“This is my fourth baby, so breast-feeding concerns aren’t new to me,” she said. “I can’t imagine how humiliated a young mom breast-feeding for the first time might feel.” (ANI)