(ABC NEWS) — A Phoenix woman said she felt embarrassed after she was reprimanded by a flight attendant on a recent flight.
Mariana Hannaman, who was traveling aboard an American Airlines flight from Chicago to Phoenix, told Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV that she was reprimanded by a flight attendant for pumping breast milk in an airplane bathroom.
Hannaman told KNXV she went into the bathroom for privacy. After 10 minutes, a flight attendant knocked on the door, according to Hannaman. Hannaman says she told the flight attendant through the door she was pumping breast milk. About two minutes later, Hannaman says, the flight attendant came back and ordered her to open the door, telling her “Well you need to stop doing this right now” and asked Hannaman to leave.
In video taken by Hannaman, the unidentified flight attendant said Hannaman should have alerted the flight attendant crew that she would be in the bathroom for an extended period of time.
Hannaman said she felt “diminished” by the experience.
“I opened the door, with the pump still attached to my breasts and she looked down and then said ‘What are you doing, you can’t do that here. You’re taking too long, there’s other passengers,’” Hannaman recounted to KNXV.
American Airlines said it has apologized to Hannaman by both phone and email and said the flight attendant’s actions were not in line with the company’s policies. American Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott said the airline supports breastfeeding mothers and that passengers are allowed to pump or breast feed in both their seats or in the lavatory.
Scott said it is usually a good idea for passengers to alert flight attendants if they want to pump in the bathroom because flight attendants would become concerned if a passenger is in the lavatory for an extended period of time.
“They’re there for safety and security, that is their role on the aircraft,” Scott said of flight attendants. “We have instances often [of] people having some sort of medical emergency in the lavatory.”
Scott said the airline was planning on highlighting the episode as an “educational tool” to remind employees of the company policy.
Hannaman could not be reached by ABC News for additional comment.