Spirit boots breast-feeding woman from plane


Associated Press

A woman making a long-planned trip with her parents and young son says Spirit Airlines kicked the family off the plane when she didn't immediately stop breast-feeding the 2-year-old, who was restless after a long delay.

Mei Rui, a concert pianist and cancer researcher, says she asked for a few minutes to let her son fall asleep in her arms while the plane was still at the gate in Houston and other passengers were walking around.

A Spirit spokesman disputed the woman's account today. He said Rui repeatedly failed to follow flight attendants' instructions to buckle her son into his seat after the plane's door was closed.

The spokesman, Stephen Schuler, said Rui told crew members they would have to drag her off the plane while she recorded them.

The incident is the latest in a growing series of confrontations between airline passengers and crews, some of which have been captured on video and posted on social media. The dragging of a United Express passenger from a plane in Chicago last April seemed to be a defining event that led to new policies on United and other carriers.

But those policy changes were mostly designed to reduce oversold flights and didn't address situations like the one Friday at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Rui, who came to the U.S. from China at age 14 and has excelled in music and works at a prominent cancer clinic in Houston, said her family boarded Spirit Flight 712 around 5:45 a.m. for the scheduled 6:30 trip from Houston to Newark.

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