LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Leigh Hunnicutt, an executive with a biotech company, was on her first work trip since returning from maternity leave when she was told to dump 50 ounces of breast milk before boarding her Singapore Airlines flight back to Los Angeles Thursday morning.
“It was extremely emotional. I was surprised at how upset I got,” Hunnicutt recalled. “I made the flight attendant aware that I had breast milk I would be traveling with. He escalated the situation. I know that they did some work to try and understand what the policy was. They came back and told me that unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to bring the breast milk on board because I didn’t have my infant with me.”
She said she checked the milk in her luggage and was able to retrieve it during a layover but realized then the ice she packed it in has melted.
“So I asked again if I could and try to describe the policy in the U.S. does allow you to transport breast milk. They told me again that it was impossible because I wasn’t traveling with my infant,” Hunnicutt explained. “That’s the point when I had to discard all of it.”
She checked the rules when she got home and found that according to the TSA website, “Formula, breast milk, juice in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag. You do not need to travel with your child to bring breast milk.”
Hunnicutt said she immediately filed a complaint with the airline, which had reached out to her.
“They were apologetic, sympathetic and understanding that [it] shouldn’t have happened,” she said.
Singapore Airlines released the following statement: “SIA policy does not prohibit the carriage of breast milk on our flights, and we are working with our teams to ensure that this mis-communication does not occur again.”
Hunnicutt said she is not angry with the airline. “They were well-intentioned. They were doing what they thought that they needed to do,” she added.
The Agoura Hills mom said she wanted to share her story because she doesn’t want another mom to go through the same ordeal.
“Be more proactive and reaching out to speak with the airline to ensure that is part of their policy, their training and let their staff know what is acceptable,” she advised.