Friday 23 August 2019

Irish airlines say they welcome breastfeeding mothers on board following KLM Twitter controversy

An Aer Lingus plane at Cork Airport
An Aer Lingus plane at Cork Airport
(stock photo)
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Irish airlines have moved to clarify that they welcome breastfeeding mothers on board their flights, following a controversy that developed yesterday on Twitter when Dutch airline KLM announced its policy on breastfeeding.

KLM said breastfeeding is “permitted” on KLM flights, when a Twitter user asked it to clarify its policy on breastfeeding.

However, it said: “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.”

"As an international airline company, we transport passengers with a variety of backgrounds. Not all passengers feel comfortable with breastfeeding in their vicinity and sometimes these passengers complain to the cabin staff," it added.

Twitter users quickly criticised the airline's approach.

Today, a spokesperson for Aer Lingus said it welcomed guests to breastfeed on board.

"Breastfeeding mothers are very welcome on board our flights... We’re a family friendly airline and there have never been any issues on board our flights.”

“Our crew are highly trained to handle many situations, and they’re there to meet the guests needs on board and ensure they have a pleasant and enjoyable flight.”

“There are any number of situations that you might have on board, and the crew are trained to deal with those.“

The spokesperson added: “For safety reasons you have to obey the seatbelt sign. That would apply to all guests."

Similarly, a spokesperson for Ryanair told Independent.ie that breastfeeding mothers are “very welcome” on board its flights.

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