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KLM Advises Nursing Women They May Need To Cover Up

KLM Advises Nursing Women They May Need To Cover Up
Jackie Reddy

KLM has caused controversy after it advised that breastfeeding women may be asked to be covered to avoid offending other passengers. The controversy was sparked following a Facebook post by a passenger, who claimed that a crew member tried to get her to cover herself with a blanket while nursing.

KLM has provoked the ire of customers after stating that breastfeeding women may be requested to cover themselves while traveling with the carrier in order to avoid causing offense to fellow travelers, The Guardian reports.

The controversy began after Shelby Angel, a passenger on a recent Amsterdam-bound flight from San Francisco, posted on Facebook that she was asked to cover up with a blanket while breastfeeding her daughter.

Quoting an excerpt from Angel’s account, the outlet reports that she felt “uncomfortable and disrespected” when the member of cabin crew offered her a blanket. She went on to state that she always breastfed her daughter with discretion and made a formal complaint to the airline.

Angel’s post prompted criticism via Twitter and the company responded by saying, “Breastfeeding is permitted at KLM flights. However, to ensure that all our passengers of all backgrounds feel comfortable on board, we may request a mother to cover herself while breastfeeding, should other passengers be offended by this.

In addition to being noted by FlyerTalk forum users, the incident also prompted members of the public to query the breastfeeding policies of other carriers. For example, the outlet reports that British Airways stated that it doesn’t have an official policy with regards to breastfeeding, but stated that any passengers who wish to feed their child should “please speak with one of the crew when you are board”.

Offering her comments on the incident, Ayala Ochert of campaign group Better Breastfeeding, said, “In their effort to avoid offense in the tiny minority of people disturbed by the sight of a child feeding, KLM has instead chosen to offend a mother trying to feed and nurture her child.

Shereen Fisher, the chief executive of another campaign group, Breastfeeding Network, stated, “The recent poor treatment of a KLM customer who happened to also be a breastfeeding mother is another disappointing example of how treating people badly is not only bad for business but perpetuates a myth that breastfeeding in a public space is likely to invite controversy.

In a statement, the carrier reiterated its policy, saying, “We would like to emphasize that breastfeeding is permitted on KLM flights. However, we strive to ensure that all of our passengers of all backgrounds feel comfortable on-board.

[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

View Comments (5)


  1. 1readyset2go

    July 19, 2019 at 10:10 am

    It would be interesting to see the other side of this coin. What if she and others did this and the crew said nothing, but maybe a male passenger kept looking at her while she did this? Would she then complain someone was looking at her while she did this uncovered? hmm

  2. tanja

    July 19, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    I did breastfeed my kids in public. But NEVER would I flaunt it. I did covered my self. Cause I wanted to. I did not want the wrong person to see it. Also not offend. But mostly cause it was nobody’s buisness so why would I want them looking at me.It was between me and my baby not a show.

  3. mvoight

    July 19, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Perhaps the “offended” passengers could cover their heads with blankets or invest in eye masks.

  4. JackE

    July 19, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Just another example of the progressive mentality: “Change your behaviour when I am offended, but I’m not going to change my behavior when YOU are offended.”

  5. Counsellor

    July 22, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Exactly, JackE. No one is allowed to offend me, but I can offend anyone I choose. Typical “entitled” nuttiness.

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