This is absolutely unbelievable. According to MSN’s Today Travel (and many other sources), the TSA (Transportation and Security Administration) detained Amy Strand, an American mother of four flying home to Maui from Kauai, for having EMPTY bottles that would normally contain breast milk that she pumps herself. They wouldn’t let her through security unless the bottles contained liquid, and so humiliated her by making her go into a crowded women’s restroom and pump breast milk into the bottles:
“He said I couldn’t go through because there was no milk in the bottles,” Strand told TODAY.com. “But I was not going to leave a part of the breast pump behind — it cost over $200. He told me (however) that my option was to leave it behind or to put milk into it.”
When she asked where she could pump, the TSA officer took her to a restroom, where the only outlet to plug the pump into was by the sinks.
“There was a TSA agent in there using the restroom and I asked her if there was a private place to pump, and she said no,” Strand said. “I had to stand at the sink in my heels and dress pumping as travelers came and went. I was humiliated and fighting back tears. It confuses me why an ice pack and breast pump were a threat to national security.”
Right: empty bottles could be used to blow up a plane.
The TSA’s own website says that bringing breast pumps, breast milk, or empty bottles that would contain breast milk are all perfectly fine:
Breast milk is in the same category as liquid medication and mothers parents flying with, and without, their child are permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is declared for inspection at the security checkpoint. Additionally, empty bottles and ice packs are permitted under these conditions.
The TSA has apologized to Strand, but that’s not good enough. She should sue their butts off to make sure this doesn’t happen again. However, I don’t think the TSA is sue-able. And they should get rid of that clueless TSA agent. I can’t avoid the impression that not only are the TSA agents poorly trained, but enjoy exercising their power over travelers in arbitrary ways.
More ridiculous and humiliating security theater, and with not even a scintilla of a rationale.