Mum Claims She Was Kicked Off A Flight For Breastfeeding Her Son

Mei Rui

Thirty-three-year-old concert pianist and cancer researcher Mei Rui was traveling with her 2-year-old son and her elderly parents from Houston to Manhattan on December 8.

All this and she still managed to make it to a flight scheduled to leave at 6:30 am, so she could participate in a recording related to a cancer study in NY.

Rui claims the plane door was still open and people moving about the cabin when one flight attendant told her the baby had to be in his seat for takeoff.

Attendants told her to put Lucas back in his seat and refused to listen when she asked if she could finish breastfeeding.

The flight attendants then allegedly conferred at the front of the plane before telling Mei, her baby, and her two elderly parents they had to get off the plane.

"He was making very loud noises, but that's not criminal", said Mei.

The incident occurred after a three-and-a-half-hour delay to her flight from Texas to Manhattan due to ice on the plane. "I said, 'I promise I'll finish before you close the plane's door'". When the flight was delayed due to weather, her son became restless, so she chose to breastfeed him, hoping he'd fall asleep by the time the airplane's door closed.

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According to Rui, she was trying to settle her son down by breastfeeding him, knowing he would otherwise cry and disturb everyone on the plane. "If they had shown a little compassion, it wouldn't have happened, they didn't have to let it escalate".

Police officers were waiting for her at the end of the Jetway and a Spirit Airlines representative asked her not to come back on board, with the only reason being that Rui wasn't "compliant". The ordeal also took a major toll on her parents, Chinese natives who had been traumatized by their country's Cultural Revolution, Mei said. "We had never been through anything close to this". Mei says she didn't want him to cry loudly, which she knew he would should she stop.

"It wouldn't happen to my family, I can assure you", an airline employee said.

Spirit Airlines stood by its decision to move Rui and her son in a statement provided to Houston's KHOU station.

Schuler noted that FAA regulations and airline policies require all passengers stay seated and buckled during takeoff and landing.

"We're not lawbreakers or trouble-seekers - we're a mother, baby and elderly - why did they have to treat us this way?" We apologize for any inconvenience to our guests. They lost their house and possessions, including her piano, in Hurricane Harvey, and are now living in temporary housing.

"As a courtesy, we've issued a full refund to the customer in question", said Schuler.

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