Thursday, August 14, 2008

my inner lactivist rears her head

first, read this.

it pissed me off mightily. so i emailed the company. this is what i said:

i have been flying westjet several times a year for more than five years. unfortunately that trend will be suspended, thanks to your shameful and discriminatory treatment of erin tarbuck and her child. i am a nursing mother and will not fly with an airline that interferes with my child's need to eat. When ms. tarbuck has recieved a formal apology and westjet has created pro-breastfeeding policies i will be happy to book my next flight with westjet, but until then i will fly with air canada.
they just emailed me back. they sent this same email to several people.

Good Afternoon,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us with your concerns.

WestJet has a responsibility to act in the best interests of all guests on a flight. If a guest is engaged in an activity that makes others uncomfortable, or has the potential to make others uncomfortable, flight attendants have a responsibility to engage the guest in an effort to find a solution. Under the circumstances, we believe the solution proposed by our flight attendant was reasonable.

WestJet supports a woman’s right to breastfeed. We also support the rights of all guests on our flights to have a safe and comfortable experience while in our care. If at any time we decide that a situation exists which has the potential to interfere with the comfort of our guests, we have a responsibility to address it.

WestJet does not have a policy on breastfeeding. We do not feel one is required because we fully support it. At no time was Ms. Tarbuck asked to stop breastfeeding.

We do not believe it is possible, or even desirable, to have a policy for every possible occurrence or situation that may arise. We believe and trust in our WestJetters, and empower them to make decisions based on common sense and good judgment.

WestJet has responded to Ms. Tarbuck’s complaint by apologizing if Ms. Tarbuck felt the request to cover up was unwarranted. However, we believe the decision by our flight attendant was reasonable, and in the best interests of the other guests on the aircraft. Ms. Tarbuck was never asked to stop breastfeeding her child. WestJet supports the right of every woman to feed her child, whether by bottle or breast.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. I hope we can look forward to welcoming you aboard a WestJet flight in the near future.


Specialist-Guest Relations

they are so, so full of shit. so i said:

you're missing the point entirely. from what ms. tarbuck and her family say, the only person who could see her feeding her baby, aside from the family themselves, was the flight attendant. if the flight attendant is so uncomfortable with a normal human activity perhaps she needs to find another job.

the canadian charter of rights and freedoms protects breastfeeding. it says nothing about breastfeeding under a blanket, but we aren't expected to only exercise our other rights and freedoms under blankets, either. women can either breastfeed on your flights or they can't. which is it?
to be continued.


  1. Growl....OUTRAGEOUS! I've been posting on the Blogher debate as well, and it's just got me totally fired up. This angers me so much. I actually am so angry that I'm not sure what to type about all of this anymore. I really believe that all of this stems from the male majority's inability to reconcile breastfeeding with pornagraphic images of women. It is especially shameful that a female flight attendant has a problem with a nursing mother. I can only assume that she is young and has no children to feel the need to have a nursing mother cover herself. If not, then god help her and her own children!

  2. "We also support the rights of all guests on our flights to have a safe and comfortable experience while in our care."

    Does this statement not carry over to the infant and mother as well? How comfortable is it for the baby to have to be under a blanket, hidden away from everyone? Hot and stuffy under a blanket. Making both mom and baby uncomfortable. And how is seeing a breastfeeding mother making anyone feel 'unsafe'? If they (other passengers) are uncomfortable they can ask to be reseated. The rights need to be evenly distributed, and by making a legally held right an uncomfortable event for the mom an baby is hypocritical at best. Not only that, but breastfeeding DOES provide extra comfort to a baby during takeoff and landing. Will they never freaking learn?