'I was embarrassed and in tears': Male easyJet crew member orders mother to stop breastfeeding her one-year-old son during flight
36-year-old Kelly Edgson-Payne says most cabin crew encourage breastfeeding during take-off because it distracts the children and stops them from crying
A mother-of-four has slammed budget airline easyJet after a crew member allegedly approached her during her flight and told her she could not breastfeed her infant son Lex. 36-year-old Kelly Edgson-Payne was flying from London Gatwick to Fuerteventura with 40-year-old husband Ross when the interaction took place and had to wean Lex off mid-feed.
According to the Daily Mail, a male member of the cabin crew approached Kelly — who is the mother to nine-year-old Mia, five-year-old Elena, three-year-old Jax, and one-year-old Lex — and informed her that she could not breastfeed Lex during takeoff.
Describing the altercation, the 36-year-old said, "I've never before been told that I can't feed Lex or any of my other children — and we've flown with him about 16 times this year. So I got settled into my seat and I started to feed my son, as I would usually."
She continued, "Then a male member of the cabin crew came over and told me I couldn't feed him during take-off, and that I'd have to stop and strap him in his infant seat next to me. It was just crazy. I said, 'Well, he's feeding.' But I just had to stop mid-feed and hand him to my husband."
Kelly bemoaned how the incident left her "embarrassed and in tears." She said, "I was mortified. I'm not afraid to breastfeed my baby wherever — I've stopped at a breakpoint during a marathon before and fed him — but this left me embarrassed and in tears. I had to quickly cover myself up — but my breasts were still leaking milk because I had stopped mid-feed."
She criticized easyJet for the lack of consistency in their rules and said they were effectively "discriminating against breastfeeding." Speaking about the incident, she said, "I find it really disappointing that an airline I trust, who we fly with all the time, actually broke the law in discriminating against me as a breastfeeding mother."
"The law in the UK says it protects breastfeeding mothers — and even easyJet's own website says mothers are welcome to breastfeed at any time during a flight," she continued. "There's no consistency in their messages. They should not be discriminating against breastfeeding."
The mother also explained why she had been breastfeeding Lex while the plane was taking off. "I have always breastfed all my children over the years during take-off — because their ears pop and it's uncomfortable for them," she said. "Most other cabin crew encourage breastfeeding during take-off because it distracts them and stops them from crying."
Edgson-Payne says a female member of the crew approached her later and apologized, though the 36-year-old then took up the issue with easyJet after the flight landed. She says she emailed the airliner's customer services and was told that passengers were allowed to breastfeed as long as the mothers were doing so in a "discreet manner."
Addressing the incident, an easyJet spokesperson said, "easyJet supports breastfeeding and customers flying with easyJet can breastfeed at any time during the flight. It is not our policy to ask mothers to be discreet and we make this very clear in our training. This flight was operated by another airline on our behalf and, while they should follow easyJet policies, we are sorry this did not happen on this occasion. We have followed up to ensure this does not happen in future."