DALLAS: Mei Rui hoped to put her son to sleep by breastfeeding him on a Spirit Airlines flight that had been repeatedly delayed by weather.
The trip was for work, and the three-hour flight from Newark was taking Rui – an acclaimed concert pianist and cancer researcher – home Friday to Houston with her 2-year-old son and elderly parents.
The plane’s door was open and people were still walking around the cabin when a flight attendant told Rui to put the child in his own seat for takeoff. A few flight attendants had passed by them and said nothing.
“I asked for just a couple more minutes to finish because if he woke up at that point he would have made a lot of noise,” Rui told media. “I said, ‘I promise I’ll finish before you close the plane’s door.’ “
Rui stopped breastfeeding and the child began crying as flight attendants talked over what to do. Then Rui was ordered off the plane.
She asked why she was being told to leave if her child was in his seat. She used her cellphone to take video of the interaction.
“I just want to know why we were kicked off the plane?” Rui asked as her son cried.
“Because you were not compliant.”
“Could you tell me which part of the instruction we were not compliant with?” she asked. “I think we deserve to know that.”
Police officers were waiting for her after she exited.
“If this happened to your family,” Rui said.
“It wouldn’t happen to my family, I can assure you,” an airline employee said.