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Continental Replies on Breastfeeding

Continental airlines responds to the letter I posted (see Breasts of Mass Destruction) on the issue of the breastfeeding Canadian mother threatened with terrorism charges for caring for her infant:

Dear Ms. Cramer:

Thank you for your comments.

While it is not Continental's policy to allow or prohibit breastfeeding or diaper changing on board the aircraft, when we are confronted with fellow passengers who are offended by such activity, we have an obligation to address this issue to prevent a disturbance in flight. Our inflight crews are trained to offer solutions that will meet the needs of all of our passengers and to make the best judgment they can at the time to resolve any issues before they escalate and cause a disturbance.  Ensuring the inflight safety of all of our passengers remains our highest priority.

Although it would be inappropriate to discuss specific details of another passenger's experience with us, I can assure you that the matter is being reviewed and addressed.

Thank you for your interest in Continental Airlines.

I wrote back:

A baby's need to eat trumps a passenger's feelings about breastfeeding. The flight attendent should have relocated the man in question. Most passengers have no problem with a woman nearby them breastfeeding.

In no case should the flight attendant have harrassed the woman by threatening her. The problem was the man, not the woman and her baby.

I decided not to hassle the customer service rep on the passage While it is not Continental's policy to allow or prohibit breastfeeding or diaper changing on board the aircraft. I could have asked whether it was Continental's policy to let their passengers eat, drink, urinate, and defecate; infants are, after all, passengers, not cargo. But I knew what she meant, so I left that one alone.

I probably should have addressed the issue of diaper changing: There is little consistency about changing tables in airplane restrooms, therefore, there are no consistent strategies for diapering that always work on an airplane. Even if there is a changing table in the restroom (which there often isn't, making restroom diaperchanging extremely difficult and downright dangerous), if the plane hits turbulence, or during meal and drink services, it it not always available when needed.

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