An Arizona woman is speaking out after she was humiliated by an American Airlines employee.
According to ABC 15, Sara Salow, her husband and their baby were preparing to board a flight from Boston to Phoenix when they were told they had too much carry-on luggage between them.
She and her husband were toting a stroller, diaper bag, backpack and a small cooler full of breastmilk.
“When we went up to the counter. I was wearing my son in a carrier, the cooler was on the seat of the stroller and the woman said, ‘You have too many bags,'” Salow recalled.
“I’m like, ‘This is a diaper bag, which I though was exempt; that backpack is his personal item and we have a cooler – I don’t have a personal item.'”
The airline worker reportedly told Salow and her husband they’d have to check the cooler, which would cost them an additional $150.
“We were pretty mad; I immediately started crying,” she said.
“It was humiliating, they kept telling us it was because we were basic economy passengers; it really felt demeaning.”
Salow told the publication she called the airline ahead of time to ensure that she and her husband wouldn’t encounter this issue on the day of their flight. Her ticket stated that both she and her husband were entitled to one carry-on bag each.
American Airline policies include a number of exempt items that can be carried on a plane at all times. These items include strollers, diaper bags, breast pumps and breast milk containers. According to the policy, none of these items count as carry-on items.
Rather than pay the $150, she and her husband decided to leave behind the $50 cooler and the eight bags of breast milk inside. She says the agents yelled at her that she should be thankful they saved her all that money.
Salow has since learned that the fee was bogus to begin with.
In a statement to ABC15, American Airlines confirms that passengers are allowed to fly with breastmilk in tow at no charge to them.
“The customer should have been allowed to fly with the breast milk and we apologize that a mistake was made in this case. We have clarified our policies with our team members,” the statement read.
The airline isn’t holding the mistake against the employee, however. They claim the policy was not specific enough.
Salow is hopeful that her bad experience will save other moms the trouble in the future.
“If it means it will never happen to another mom, it was worth it,” she said.