High school vice-principal Amy Strand, a nursing mother mother of four, was told that that she couldn't clear the TSA checkpoint at Lihue Airport in Kauai with her breast pump unless she went into the women's bathroom and pumped her breasts out into the bottles. The TSA operative told her that the pump wasn't allowed through with empty bottles. There were no electrical outlets in the stalls in the restroom, so she had to stand over the sink and pump there. The TSA later apologized.
The agent told her the ice pack would not be allowed through security without milk in the bottles. Strand said the ice pack is specially made for the milk's cooler and would not be easy to replace.
"It really confuses me as to how an empty breast pump and cooler pack are a threat to national security and 20 minutes later, with milk, they no longer pose a threat to national security," Strand said incredulously.
She asked if there was a private place she could pump and was told there was not. The agent suggested she go to the public bathroom. Her electric pump required an outlet and there were no outlets in the stalls, so she had to use one in the bathroom's public area.
"There was no misunderstanding," Strand said. "I really only had two options: leave part of it behind or pump. And I'm not going to leave part of it behind because [the agent] doesn't know the police and procedures."
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.