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[personal profile] gen_here
Because that didn't happen until the last day of vacation, and Melanie might explode before I get there, here's what happened. (No, the icon is not directed at you, Mel.)

First, I repost this picture from yesterday...
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See that carrier I'm wearing? I called 1-800-I FLY SWA about a week and a half before we left to check on two things... their breastfeeding policy (Thank you, Barbara Walters) and whether or not I could wear Robert for take-off and landing. In [ profile] boob_nazis a few months ago, someone posted about how they were told that they couldn't wear their baby on take off and landing because of some FAA regulation, and a bunch of other responded with they were allowed to. We were advised to check with our particular air carrier before planning to sling or not to sling. The nice woman on the phone had to put me on hold a few times to check with supervisors and guide books, but I was told that wearing him in either this carrier or my sling is allowed. We both talked about how it's much safer than holding him because it is a form of restraint, etc.

We had two take-offs (and, obviously, two landings) from Omaha to Tampa. I wore Robert in my sling for the first take off and then in this carrier for the rest. We had a great group of flight attendants and they said nothing to us. So I didn't think anything of it.

Fast forward to coming home. Now, I HATE this carrier. The only benefit of it is that Robert can look around, but it's not that comfy to me and his head bounces around if I have to do more than stroll. So the only reason I brought it was for the airplane. As we're getting on the plane, Bonnie (the evil stewardess) smiles at Robert in the carrier, even stops and talks to him and tickles his feet. Sweet =) We pre-boarded with an infant, so we were the first people on the plane, and we were on that plane for about 20 minutes before it started pulling back from the gate.

As we're rolling through the airport to get to our taxi-way, another stewardess comes up to me and tells me that I have to remove the carrier. I told her that I called ahead of time and was told that I could wear it and that I wasn't told to remove it on the flights out here. She said okay and walked up to Bonnie and told her. Bonnie came over to me and told me that I had to remove it. I repeated myself. She told me it was against FAA regulations for me to be wearing that on take off and landings. I told her that was specifically what I asked about at their toll-free number. She told me the people who work there "don't know anything." I told her I would not be removing the sling. She started getting a little louder so that others around could hear her, "So you're saying that you're unwilling to comply with FAA regulations?" I said, "No, I'm saying that I'm going to do exactly what your airline told me I could do." She repeated, "So you're saying that you're unwilling to comply with FAA regulations?" I repeated that I wasn't, that this was safer. She said that I can't wear it for take-off or landing but I can wear it once we're in the air, because if we would need to evacuate in an emergency the straps could get caught. I asked what I was supposed to do with my child in that event, let him go so he can fall? She repeated the crap about me not being willing to comply with FAA regulations.

At this time, I'm panicking. I'm picturing myself in prison for terrorism in TAMPA - where only Geof's grandparents can come and taunt me without my child. I started taking it off and told her that I needed her name because I would be complaining to SWA. She said she'd bring back her name and employee ID. I was shaking. I was holding Robert so hard that I was afraid I would break his ribs - but I was more afraid that he would drop if I didn't hold on to him. Geof tried to comfort me and I pushed him away (I apologized later). She brought the paper back to me and I ripped it out of her hands and stuffed it in the diaper bag.

When I calmed down a little, I felt bad for ripping that out of her hand so rudely, so when she came by to get our drink order, I said, "I still don't agree with you, but that was no reason for me to be rude. I'm sorry." She tried to tell me that it's all about safety and we "debated" that back and forth (If you get caught, you'll be stuck on an airplane that most likely, let's face it, about to explode. If I drop him, his skull would smash and he could die. But the slide is inflatable. But the asphalt at the bottom isn't. I wasn't told to remove it on the other flight. I have kids - they didn't - they don't care as much for your child as I do.)

Thankfully, we changed planes in Chicago and had a much more peaceful flight home. I didn't try the carrier again except for when we were taxiing into the Omaha airport and we needed to get him off the plane. But you can believe that I'll be writing to SWA about her behavior and her claims that the CSAs are incompetent and that the other flight attendants don't care for children (She didn't even know who they were - how did she know they didn't have kids?)

I'm also going to make the suggestion that, if they're so worried about the straps of my carrier getting me stuck on the plane, that they make sure no one is allowed to wear suspenders, belts, shoelaces, drawstrings or bras on the plane either - those could all cause a snag hazard on the emergency slide as well. I'm also going to suggest that if they're going to make parents take these carriers off, they might want to say something when we're boarding the plane rather than when the plane is pulling away from the gate.

Date: 2005-08-20 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Gen...again I LOVE you! And you are a better person than I am! I would have never apologized for being rude...boy do you humble me.

You have no idea how SORRY I am that this happened to you! (BTW, I have breastfed on a plane...and I never asked, nor cared! Haha...but I know all about the Barbara Walters thing...and I think the whole thing is ridiculous!) At any rate, I just want to say that things like this have happened to me, and I have had similar reactions.

Date: 2005-08-20 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was going to whether it was okay with them or not - I just wanted to know that they didn't have a policy telling me I had to feed him in the closet bathroom so if I was told I had to I could tell them that I already checked and I didn't have to. I was told they didn't have a policy but that they ask that I be descrete. I was joking with the really nice lady on the phone that I wasn't going to strip down or anything =)

Date: 2005-08-20 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That is so insulting. I mean, it's offensive that she would even say, "Please be descrete." What is wrong with this world? Oh I could go on forever about this. But I'm glad everything was ok:)

Date: 2005-08-20 06:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree, but I don't take offense to it anymore because I know the person saying it is ignorant and thinks breastfeeding means both boobs flappin' in the breeze with a baby occasionally snacking. Seriously, you can't tell if he's eating or sleeping, and I'd raise hell for any mom being told to cover up if a little more flesh showed.

Date: 2005-08-21 05:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have found that people are just dumbignorant. It's so true. And honestly, breastfeeding or not, what woman wants to go flashing her nipples around? I mean, most women are pretty modest. Especially after giving birth. I know I still am modest.

Date: 2005-08-21 05:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I meant to say...dumb ignorant...

Date: 2005-08-20 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, GOODNESS! I would have been bawling. Good for you, Gen...she was just being anal. Some people just love to raise a stink.

What a stupid, stupid rule.

Your last paragraph...yessss.

Date: 2005-08-20 05:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I meant to add up there (but don't feel like editting it again) that when she was explaining the not-following-FAA-regs that I told her I didn't want to end up in prison for terrorism for wearing him in the sling (I just thought it when we were pulling back, but I did say it to her). She said, "Oh, no, that wouldn't have happened..." Um... you're telling me that I'm refusing to do what the FAA says I have to do - YES - that's exactly what could happen.

Date: 2005-08-20 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ARGH. People like that should NOT get into a career that involves a lot of interaction with others. It's clearly not her strong suit.

Date: 2005-08-20 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
oh, GOODNESS! Your icon is perfect!

Date: 2005-08-20 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ignorance at it's best. Good for you for standing your ground and I'm seriously impressed that you apologized to her!! Way to go!

Date: 2005-08-20 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm in awe with how gently you handled the situation. I'd've been shaking, too. I'm shaking just reading about it!
How rediculous! She was just touting her authority!

Date: 2005-08-20 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh my! You defintily handled that MUCH better than I. I would have been a mess! lol.
I do think the rule is silly, which I'm not sure if it's even a rule. Especially if you already called and they said you shouldn't have a problem...

Date: 2005-08-21 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i wouldn't have apologized, but that's because i'm a jerk. haha! ;-) i can't believe you had to go through drama like that. it's ridiculous.

Date: 2005-08-21 02:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What a mess! I'm going to have to ask Virgil about this policy, too.

Date: 2005-08-21 03:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Please do - and let me know, too.

Date: 2005-08-21 08:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Blah, sorry you had to go through that.

We didn't sling on the plane (but I guess Isaac's getting a little old for that). But on the first flight home, we had weather delays and were in the plane for 4 hours (on a 1 1/2 hour flight), so Isaac nursed like 20 million times. At one point a flight attendant walked by and mentioned something about not understanding why people formula feed, and how much she enjoyed nursing her kids. She didn't whisper or anything. I thought that was really cool.

Date: 2006-03-10 11:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
was there an update on this? did you ever write in?
did you get any results back?

thanks for letting me read that...I never even thought to call in and find out policy!

Date: 2006-03-10 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Honestly, I started writing the letter about 3 months later, and it never got sent. Part of me still wants to send it - just so they know what a bitch she was to us. But at the same time, it's almost 7 months after the fact. I may call them and explain what happened and how (with a baby) the letter never got finished... would they still like it sent?

Date: 2006-03-10 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
hrm...not a bad idea
seems like a silly policy to say the least. dont' have your hands free in case of an emergency, oh no!



Date: 2009-02-16 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh my goodness..... I have heard so many horror stories about SWA flight attendants. A friend of mine recently flew with them after having gastric bypass, and the attendants referred to her at "fatty" and asked her if she could fit into one seat with the arm rests down, and wouldn't she be more comfortable if she had two or three seats to herself? Grrrr.... Seriously, though.... the problem is so bad that some news crew actually looked into it, and I guess the attendants said that they are trained to respond to large people, people with kids, and the elderly in a "more succinct and curt manner" than the rest of the customers. If I can come across the link again, I'll send it to you.


Date: 2009-02-16 05:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, I was SO angry. I wrote this seething letter with names and badge numbers and details... and then in new-motherhood-ness it never got sent. I think of it every time I fly SWA (which was a LOT while my mom was ill) and wish I would have sent it. But I think it's probably too late now.
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