Mum slams TUI after being told not to breastfeed as she might 'make others feel uncomfortable'
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A mum has slammed TUI after being told she couldn’t breastfeed her baby during take-off because she might ‘make other people feel uncomfortable’.
Chelsea Williams, from near Conwy County Borough, North Wales, boarded her flight with the airline for a holiday in La Marina, Alicante, Spain, with her family of four on 26th July.
However, the 28-year-old mum-of-two says she was approached by a member of the cabin crew who said she ‘wasn’t permitted’ to feed Emmy* during take-off and landing.
Chelsea’s husband Thomas Williams, 28, decided to ask TUI whether his wife was allowed to feed their six-week-old during flight take-off through the company’s app the day before they were due to travel home, however they were left in shock from the response.
TUI suggested that the family should avoid breastfeeding on the plane as it may ‘make other people feel uncomfortable’ - despite there being no official restrictions in place.
Chelsea was left ‘gobsmacked’ by the response, claiming that she expected the company to explain a policy or safety regulation rather than ‘discrimination’.
“Before going, I did some research and it said to feed for take-off and landing,” Chelsea said.
"They came to do the belt checks, and saw that the baby was buckled in and feeding and I was told it wasn't permitted to feed during take-off and landing.
"I didn't know what to do, because obviously I'd done research and was planning on feeding my baby - she needed to be settled.
"I didn't want to cause a scene by not cooperating, so I stopped feeding. I didn't feed while we were taking off, and the cries were getting worse. She was obviously in pain.
"I was embarrassed, because the baby was crying and all eyes were on me. I waited until the seatbelt lights went off, and when it did, I started to feed the baby.”
On the response via the TUI app regarding breastfeeding, Chelsea said: “I didn't reply, I was honestly gobsmacked.
"I went into the travel day home really anxious that someone was going to say something to me again or not let me feed my baby.
"I didn't ask [if I was allowed to feed her] on the flight home at all. I just fed my baby, and thankfully nobody said anything about this flight."
She shared a screenshot of the conversation on Facebook on 7th August, TUI’s response read: “Thank you for contacting TUI.
"There are no official restrictions, however we would not recommend it because it could make other people feel uncomfortable.
"Let us know if you have any further questions."
TUI have since apologised and confirmed that they are going to ensure that all colleagues are retrained on their breastfeeding policy.
A spokesperson for TUI said: "We are really sorry for the distress caused to Ms Williams and her infant.
"As a family friendly travel company, we support breastfeeding on our flights at any time.
"We are currently conducting an urgent internal investigation and will be making sure that all colleagues are retrained on our breastfeeding friendly policy."
*First name has been changed.