Houston mom says her family was ‘kicked off’ Spirit Airlines flight after breastfeeding

An Airbus A320 (A320-200) jetliner, belonging to Spirit Airlines, passes hotels on the Las Vegas Strip as it takes off from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nv. on Thursday, March 2, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougal

A Houston woman claims that she was asked to leave a Spirit Airlines flight to New York City after requesting a few extra minutes to finish breastfeeding her son.

A report from the Washington Post states concert pianist Mei Rui, her elderly parents, and her two-year-old son were on their way to New York City as they’d been planning for months. While the family had boarded the plane, the flight was delayed and they’d yet to take off.

Rui began breastfeeding her son when it seemed like the plane was close to taking off, hoping to put him to sleep. Rui says  a flight attendant then approached Rui and said her son needed to be strapped into his seat for takeoff. Rui says she then asked for another few minutes to finish breastfeeding, promising she’d finish before the plane doors closed.

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“I asked for just a couple more minutes to finish because if he woke up at that point he would have made a lot of noise,” Rui said. “I said, ‘I promise I’ll finish before you close the plane’s door,'” Rui told the Post.

When the flight attendants gathered at the front of the plane, Rui claims she stopped feeding her son and he began to cry.

That, she said, is when the flight attendants asked her to leave the plane. Rui used her cellphone to record while she asked the attendants why she was being asked to leave the plane.

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Global News reached out to Spirit airlines for comment, and they responded that they stand by the decision of the aircraft crew.

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“We were forced to remove a passenger from flight 712 after they refused to comply with crew instructions several times while the doors were closed during taxi and safety briefing. To ensure the safety of our guests and crew, FAA regulations and airline policies require all passengers stay seated and buckled during takeoff and landing. We reviewed multiple accounts from the crew and other guests sitting nearby and we apologize for any inconvenience caused by this issue. As a courtesy, we’ve issued a full refund to the customer in question.” 

Spirit also said that “the passenger failed to comply with crew instructions by not being safely buckled and secured for takeoff after being repeatedly asked to do so. As for the door, reports from the crew indicate the door was closed at the time of the incident.”

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Rui says she was on her way to New York to take part in a cancer study. She says while she was issued a full refund, she won’t be flying with Spirit Airlines in the future.

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