KLM says breastfeeding mothers may be asked to cover up on flights - do you agree?

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 12:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th July 2019, 14:58 pm

Breastfeeding in public has always been a hot topic for debate, and now KLM has sparked further conversation after its response to a tweet from a mother asking about the airline’s breastfeeding policies.

KLM’s response

Heather Yemm tweeted the Dutch airline company, requesting information regarding their stance on breastfeed whilst on a flight.

She wrote, “What is your policy regarding breastfeeding?”

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The company’s answer has subsequently sparked debate, with many Twitter users unhappy with KLM’s response.

The airline replied to the mother’s question, stating, “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.”

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.

— Royal Dutch Airlines (@KLM) July 16, 2019

Twitter backlash

Twitter users were particularly unhappy with the airline’s notion that breastfeeding is something which others may be “offended by”.

One Twitter user said, “If they are offended by the most natural thing they can cover their eyes. Or you can cover their eyes.”

Another added, “Things that offend me: People objecting to an infant being fed.”

A third said, “What on earth? I spent half my morning trying to believe you hadn't really said this.

“I suggest you remind other passengers of things like their eyes and neck and ability to look in the other direction if it bothers them that much.”

Disagreement over the airline’s policies

However, some agreed with KLM’s breastfeeding policies.

One Twitter user believed that KLM’s response was reasonable, stating, “Mothers should be asked to cover up as they are exposing themselves publicly, even if for breastfeeding.

“If it will cause that much offence being told to cover up, then maybe use a bottle for the flight.”

Another echoed this by writing, “If I was sitting next to this woman and KLM did nothing about it I would request them for a full refund.

“This is not what I’m expecting on my journey to be exposed to. She could have asked KLM to either let her do it in the flight attendants compartment or do it in the toilet.”

If I was sitting next to this woman and KLM did nothing about it I would request them for full refund. This is not what I’m expecting on my journey to be exposed to. She could have asked KLM to either let her do it in the flight attendants compartment or do it in the toilet.

— mcrtz777 (@mcrtz777) July 17, 2019

Other airline policies on breastfeeding

KLM’s response prompted Twitter users to ask other airlines if their stance on breastfeeding is similar.

British Airways told the BBC that it would never look to stop a mother from breastfeeding, and would assist in providing privacy if requested.

EasyJet's official policy explains that it "supports breastfeeding mothers" and that passengers are welcome to feed their babies on board "at any time".

Another Twitter user states that Emirates are also open to breastfeeding on board, writing, “I flew with @emirates recently with my baby and breastfed her frequently throughout the flight.

“Not one person batted an eyelid. Staff were fabulous and attentive.”

Do you think breastfeeding mothers should be asked to cover up during flights? Have your say via our poll below.

This article was originally published on our sister site, Yorkshire Evening Post.