Dr. Mei Rui, a Grammy-winning concert pianist, says she was kicked off a Spirit Airlines flight because she was breastfeeding her 2-year-old son.
The flight, which was flying from her hometown of Houston to New York City, was already delayed when her son started to cry. So Rui tried to make him fall asleep by breastfeeding him, she told The Washington Post.
That’s when a flight attendant told her the baby needed to be in his seat for takeoff, Rui said she just asked for a little more time, “because if he woke up at that point he would have made a lot of noise. I said, ‘I promise I’ll finish before you close the plane’s door.'”
Rui said she obliged, but as expected her little one started to cry again. When she couldn’t keep him quiet the flight staff asked her to exit the aircraft.
“They treated us like we were criminals,” she told The Post. “A baby crying is not a crime.”
Spirit Airlines stood by its decision in a statement to Houston’s local station KHOU.
“Our records indicate a passenger was removed from Flight 712 after refusing to comply with crew instructions several times during taxi to runway and safety briefing,” the airline said. “To protect the safety of our guests and crew, FAA regulations and airline policies require all passengers to stay seated and buckled during takeoff and landing. We apologize for any inconvenience to our guests.”