TSA Forces Woman to Use Her Breast Pump Before She Can Take It Through Security

Illustration for article titled TSA Forces Woman to Use Her Breast Pump Before She Can Take It Through Security

In another shining moment in airport security history, a TSA agent at Kauai's Lihue Airport last week refused to let a woman bring her breast pump through security because the milk bottles were empty. Amy Strand, of Maui, was traveling with her 9-month old daughter and was carrying the electric pump. She was told she couldn't bring the machine through with the milk bottles empty, because that somehow meant the pump wasn't considered medically necessary. The agent said she would have to pump to fill up the bottles in order to be allowed on the plane with it.

Obviously that is insane, but what's more insane is that when she asked for a private place to pump, she was told there wasn't one and was instead directed to the women's bathroom. Because her pump requires an outlet, and the only outlet in the room was next to the sink, she had to pump out in the open. As Strand described it, "I had to stand in front of the mirrors and the sinks and pump my breast, in front of every tourist that walked into that bathroom." Understandably, the experience left her "embarrassed and humiliated." After she was finished pumping, she was allowed to board the plane home.

The TSA has admitted that the agent made a mistake, and they've apologized for "any inconvenience or embarrassment this incident may have caused her." Meanwhile, in related news, TSA agents at New York's JFK airport let a woman get through security with a dagger in her bag this weekend. So, you know, good to see policies and procedures are being followed so strictly all across the nation.

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TSA Admits Breast Pump Mistake [KITV4]

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DISCUSSION

Breast milk and formula are exceptions to the liquids rule. The bottles would have been empty if she had her kid with her - why pump if you can nurse? I'm assuming she brought the pump with her so she could pump on her trip while she was going out, not pump on the plane.

I traveled several times with my breast pump (no baby), and the TSA agents were always fine. The guys usually asked what it was, and were slightly embarrassed when I told them. Occasionally they used the bomb-testing wipe on it, but not every time. And they never hassled me about bringing home the frozen breast milk on the plane, regardless of how much I had.

Sounds like this TSA agent had no common sense. Why didn't someone with some sense step in somewhere in this process?