United Airlines flight attendant unlocks plane bathroom, walks in on mom breast pumping

Woman feels violated after incident

CAPE CORAL, Fla. (WFTX) -- A woman in Cape Coral, Florida said she feels like her privacy was invaded on a United Airlines flight, after a flight attendant unlocked and opened the restroom door as she was pumping breast milk.

The woman told WFTX she's never had a problem pumping in an airplane lavatory until now. She said she was pumping in the bathroom for about ten minutes while airborne, when she heard banging on the door.

She said she thought it was a fellow passenger who was being impatient, and ignored it. "I had my pumping gear on and I didn't have a shirt on," she said.

The woman continued pumping. A few minutes later, the banging started again.

Then someone unlocked the door and tried to open it, she explained. "Oh my gosh, is this really happening? Is someone really opening the door on me, when I'm in the bathroom, while I'm pumping breast milk," she thought.

"After multiple attempts by the crew to solicit a confirmation from the customer occupying the lavatory of her safety and wellbeing and getting no reply, a flight attendant unlocked the door to ensure the customer was okay," a statement from United Airlines said regarding the incident.

She told WFTX she shut the door firmly and later came out, asking a nearby male flight attendant if he knew who unlocked the door. The attendant said it was him, trying to make sure everything was okay. She said the man didn't offer an apology.

The woman said she then tried to get help from a different employee, who she said didn't care either. "I asked her what her name was and she said it didn't matter," the woman said. "I asked how to complain and she said you have to go to United.com, and she said she didn't have a supervisor."

The woman said she understands they were maybe worried about her safety, or security of others on the plane. However, she did not feel the airline handled the situation properly, and doesn't want the situation to happen to anyone else.

"I understand [the safety aspect], but you don't ever unlock the door and open the door on somebody. I didn't hear anybody ask me if I was okay, I didn't hear anybody say, 'Knock back if you're alright,' That would have been acceptable," she said.

The full statement sent to WFTX from United Airlines about the incident is included below. 

“We’re disappointed anytime a customer has an experience that doesn’t measure up to their expectations but our crews are always focused on safety and security. After multiple attempts by the crew to solicit a confirmation from the customer occupying the lavatory of her safety and wellbeing and getting no reply, a flight attendant unlocked the door to ensure the customer was okay. We are currently reviewing the situation and have reached out to our customer.” Jonathan Guerin Spokesman United Airlines

Print this article Back to Top