Breastfeeding Mom Stacey Armato Responds to TSA

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Stacey Armato, the woman who was detained for almost an hour, causing her to miss her flight, all because she didn't want to radiate her breast milk, has spoken about the TSA's recent public statement about the issue.

I'm not surprised that her response makes it pretty obvious that the PR department is working really hard to sweep it under the rug, especially because Armato has filed a tort claim against them.

Read on to see what Stacey has to say about TSA's "apology."

The TSA's "Blogger Bob" states that they had issued a personal letter of apology to Armato. She tells Sustainable Mothering:

They stated that the “screening workforce [had] been briefed regarding this situation.”  [and]  it was their “understanding that … the issue has been resolved” and they “extend [their] sincere apologies to [me] for the discomfort and inconvenience [I] experienced during the screening process.” ... Of course, the complaint that I sent over to TSA ... addressed many important issues this letter did not acknowledge at all including being retaliated against, harassed, humiliated, degraded, threatened with arrest, held in security for an hour, among other things.  Frankly, I disregarded this letter from TSA in March as a standard form letter they would issue to any complaint and did not view it as an apology ...

In TSA's public statement, they said they retrained their employees to handle this type of situation but in their letter to Armato, they state they had been educated on how to handle this? They try to placate her by only apologizing for the inconvenience and discomfort of the experience but still refuse to acknowledge that despite having their own policies under the supervisor's nose, they were not respected. I'm also curious if they compensated her for her missed flight home?

They state that Armato has continued to fly without incident. Of course she has to keep flying, it's required for her job. It's not as simple as they make it sound. Armato was assigned a TSA authority to shadow her as she continued to fly, and narrowly missed a repeat episode:

As soon as I asked for an alternate screening, I was told to put the milk through the x-ray machine. The TSA authority had to immediately make herself known to the TSA agent and said to give me an alternate screening. It was clear that any briefing or training that had been done was futile.

So sure, she hasn't had any repeat incidents. They had someone follow her around, and when they started to try to push the same issue, their own authority had to intervene. That's not progress. After many, many trips through the gate, she states that every single time, she was requested to put the breast milk through the scanner. TSA stated they were fine with that, as long as the attendants remembered her request for an alternate screening. But what about other women, those who aren't on their radar?

Armato tried a different gate and faced no issues whatsoever, and when she returned with great hesitance to the gate that spawned this disaster, she never encountered the four or five agents that had created the controversy again. Whether they were fired or relocated has never been addressed by the TSA. They have never once even mentioned that things could have been done in any way to be less traumatic, other than just the fact that it took so long and Armato was distressed. They've never mentioned that anyone was at fault for not following policies, or that anyone was even reprimanded.

Armato has filed a tort claim against the TSA, which is for damage to or loss of property, and says she will try to exhaust all administrative authority to officially change policy, and if that isn't sufficient, a federal lawsuit will be filed.

A common question that arises is "Why didn't she just dump it out and pump more on the plane?" A mere 12 ounces in three or four bottles, the debated amount, may not seem like a lot to some, but that can take hours over a period of a day or more for a woman to pump and produce. It would be like donating tons of blood, and then having them just dump it out and tell you, "Give more." It's just not that simple. Your body has a limited supply that takes time to build up,. She had it timed so her son needed that milk -- part of her complaint. It may just be milk to some, but to a pumping mother, it is her hard work, effort and time devoted to her baby's well-being, all in a little bottle.

How do you feel about the TSA's response, now hearing Armato's side of the story?


breastfeeding, discrimination, airplanes, in the news, travel

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mtnma... mtnmama111

*just dump it*??!!! That was her child's DINNER!!?!! What the &*^% is wrong with people?? This incident alone shows EXACTLY how messed up TSA is- and I for one am glad that she is following through with legal action- she shouldn't need to have someone follow her around to ensure their own rules are followed properly!!! That is outrageous!!!

nonmember avatar PublicStaceypu

I have been mortified with how TSA has treated Stacey Armato (no relation). The video tape of the experience is horrific. They should have said more than their "form" letter did...and I didn't see the "apology" they said they gave her. This was not a mere inconvenience. Good for Stacey for sharing her side of it. Good luck to her in her endeavors in court. Hopefully, it will be of tremendous help to many women flying.

BTW, I sent her story to CNN in hopes they would pick it up...to no avail. This story needs major public attention.

Carol... Caroline2010

just awful!! i will be flying in a few weeks and i am so afraid something like this will happen! i sure as hell wont b as nice as she was!!! i Exclusively Pump for my dd so every drop counts! if i was asked to dump it out they will see one mad mother! ill prolly b arrested! i told my hubby about this story so now he is looking up rules and printing everything off so i can take my breast milk with me! its just awful how they treated her!

mrsrobin mrsrobin

Good lick on your flight Caroline. My DD is breast fed and I will be giving her a bottle on the plane so she doesn't bite down on my nipple. OUCH! My baby, milk nor I will go through an X-ray. Although when you are WITH the baby I think you may be treated differently.

Ashly... Ashlynnsmommy07

just dump it? Pumping is hard, that stuff is like liquid gold! 

nonmember avatar Mary-Jane Sacke

I don't blame her for filing suit, even though I am generally against using lawsuits to settle disagreements. And they knew she was a lawyer. Really stupid on their part. I think there is a hidden agenda here for the TSA. They really want to go to court to prove how powerful they are, and this might get all the way to the Supreme Court because how else can they have their power reaffirmed?

sodapple sodapple

i think if more mothers will come foward and make sure some type of law go through it will be so much better. i really pray such law passes that protects mothers wether they nurse or not.

ethan... ethans_momma06

I am happy to hear that she has come out to continue telling us her viewpoint. TSA sucks it.

Katherine Elizabeth Hunt

Why didn't she dump it and pump more. When I am pumping it takes me my whole 8 hour work day to get 10 oz. I love how people think you can just make milk like that. Likewise she may not have wanted to pump on the plane, privacy much and no one wants to sit in a tiny bathroom ticking people off in the process because you are holding up the toilet for 20 minutes. And lets talk about the fact that that milk was her child's food. Her dumping it could mean she would need to supplement with formula and she might not feel comfortable with that. Just because it is there doesn't mean we all want to use it. People never put BFing as a priority because "it isn't as if the baby will starve in the absence of Breast Milk, or Formula is just fine for everyone else what makes your child so special."

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