A woman on a recent Delta Airlines flight allegedly began to breastfeed her pet cat mid-flight and refused to stop after getting caught.
The incident allegedly happened during a recent trip onboard Delta Flight 1360, a route that travels between Syracuse, New York and Atlanta, Georgia. An image posted to social media suggests that the purported cat breastfeeding happened while the plane was headed towards Atlanta, although it is not clear exactly when the incident happened.
The image circulating online describes the supposed event in what appears to be a screen capture of message sent using the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), which pilots use to transmit short text-based messages to the ground.
The message reports that a passenger is seat 13A “is breastfeeding a cat and will not put cat back in carrier” in response to a request from a flight attendant. The message asks that the situation be addressed by the airline’s “Red Coat” team upon landing. Delta describes members of the team as “elite airport customer service experts” who are “specially trained to handle on-the-stop customer issues.”
Beyond the purported ACARS message, which Newsweek has not independently verified, little other information about the supposed incident was available as of Friday.
However, a TikTok account from flight attendant Ainsley Elizabeth appears to refer to the incident, with a video posted on November 2 claiming that “security met the flight because a woman was breastfeeding her cat.”
“This woman had one of those, like, hairless cats swaddled up in a blanket so it looked like a baby,” Ainsley Elizabeth said in a follow-up video posted on November 13. “Her shirt was up and she was trying to get the cat to latch and she wouldn’t put the cat back in the carrier. And the cat was screaming for its life.”
“What does she do at home if she’s doing that in public?” she asked. “And then security met the flight just to tell her that she couldn’t do that again, cause it was weird and gross.”
Newsweek reached out to Delta Airlines for comment.
There are no laws that prohibit mothers from breastfeeding their human babies during flight. Delta policy also allows breastfeeding during flights, although it seems unlikely that the policy would apply to the breastfeeding of non-human animals such as cats.
“Delta fully supports a woman’s right to breastfeed on board Delta and Delta Connection aircraft and in Delta facilities,” the airline’s policy states. “Breast pumps are allowed on board. At the airport and if you prefer, many airports do offer private lactation rooms or spaces. Ask a Delta associate if you need assistance locating one at an airport.”
Although Delta policy also allows pets including cats to travel on flights, animals are required to “remain inside the kennel (with door secured) while in a Delta boarding area (during boarding and deplaning), a Delta airport lounge and while on board the aircraft.”
Most airlines around the world have also recently tightened policies on “emotional support animals” flying after a series of incidents involving passengers demanding that creatures like peacocks, ferrets, horses, ducks and snakes be allowed to accompany them.
Delta no longer allows emotional support animals to fly, following a new rule from the Department of Transportation that states the animals do not qualify as service animals, a category that includes only trained dogs.