Oops: Airline Incorrectly Accuses Passenger Of Being Pregnant

A story has surfaced of a 24 year old lady who took a Jetstar flight from Wellington to Sydney, and was mistook for being pregnant.

Jetstar-Pregnant

Via stuff.co.nz:

While boarding the flight, a male attendant motioned to his stomach and said something she could not hear.

When she asked him what he had said, he replied by asking if she was pregnant.

“At first I thought he was asking how heavy my bag was,” she said.

“He signalled to his stomach and said ‘How many weeks are you?’ I was stunned and shocked, and said ‘I am not pregnant’.

Andersen said those around her had heard what the man said, leaving her feeling embarrassed and self-conscious.”

Once in Auckland, she raised the matter with the cabin crew leader.

The man told her they usually asked people if they are more than 28 weeks pregnant for safety reasons.

Neither the man nor the cabin crew manager apologised to Andersen for asking the question.

Jetstar

After that experience she raised the issue on Jetstar’s Facebook page, and even did news interviews about it (you can see a clip of her being interviewed here). Today she received a call from Jetstar offering an apology and a $100 voucher towards a future flight.

This is an interesting situation:

  • While I’m not a pregnancy expert (I couldn’t be further from one, actually), she definitely doesn’t look 28 weeks pregnant to me, so I doubt the flight attendant was asking in an official capacity, though I could be wrong
  • Rather I would guess the flight attendant was just trying to engage her in small talk, and made a stupid comment… it happens to us all sometimes, no?
  • Understandably this made her feel self conscious, though I’m sort of surprised she’d publicly post on Jetstar’s Facebook page and even go on the news; at that point everyone is judging her figure (either positively or negatively), which doesn’t seem like a good solution if what she was told made her feel insecure

Bottom line

I’m not at all trying to justify the flight attendant’s actions, but it sure seems to me like the flight attendant was just trying to engage in small talk, and unfortunately wasn’t thinking clearly. We all make stupid comments once in a while, and it certainly doesn’t reflect the airline.

I do find it a bit odd that she’d broadcast this situation so publicly, given that in the interview she’s saying how self conscious she feels now. While I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that she’s trying to get something out of this.

What do you make of this story? Do you think the flight attendant was engaging in small talk or asking per company policy? Does the airline owe her anything else?

(Tip of the hat to Geoffrey)

Comments

  1. “While I’m not a pregnancy expert …. she definitely doesn’t look 28 months pregnant to me”

    You definitely aren’t an expert on that,, Lucky! 😀

    (weeks)

  2. I do think she looks a bit pregnant. Not sure 28 weeks…but I really don’t think this is a big issue. I think the flight attendant did the right thing by thinking proactively, but probably should have apologized (I sure as heck would have…and run the other way!)

  3. You never, ever directly ask a woman if she’s pregnant if you don’t know for sure! It’s just a social norm. If it was for safety reasons, then the flight attendant should have apologized and say he was asking for safety reasons.

  4. The number one question to NEVER ask a woman is: “Are you pregnant?” or any question even remotely suggesting that (e.g., “How many weeks?” and the like).

    THAT IS THE RULE. YOU NEVER ASK THAT QUESTION. EVER!

    Yes, the flight attendant was likely trying to engage in small talk, but he still BROKE THE NUMBER ONE RULE.

    She’s owed her dignity back, but Jetstar can’t really can’t provide that since the damage is done.

    I was at a social even once where my boss said to another woman “I didn’t realize you were pregnant again!” and the woman replied that she wasn’t. I wanted to crawl under a rock.

  5. You never ask that question. Admittedly I risk being called callous or worse when others congratulate the lady in question and pepper them with questions of how many weeks, boy or girl etc. I am glad I am not an FA forced to ask those questions for safety or other reasons as I probably would make mistakes. Tough all round though apologizing does not hurt and (like the Japanese ) profuse and frequent apologies are best

  6. I know its just a fantasy but wouldn’t it be funny if we discover a few months later that she actually WAS pregnant

  7. She lost her dignity way before the flight attendant asked her this question. Seriously, she ahould lose some weight instead of looking permanently pregnant

  8. Remember, if someone embarrasses you unintentionally and doesn’t really maliciously hurt you…get on social media and whine about it till you get something!

  9. What would Jesus Do? Likely not start complaining….. Turn around lady, there is a Crucifix on your wall.

  10. Well if you are in a situation where pregnancy is a potential concern – and you look pregnant (even if you aren’t) be prepared to be asked it. Not ideal for either party but there it is. The flip side is that I have offered my seat on a bus or the tube to women I have assumed are pregnant, the seat has never been refused. But yes Ben (apart from this being a bit of a non-story) I agree with you, what is she really after?

  11. I just can’t take this seriously. I mean, come on. She was so humiliated by the remarks that she went public on the airline’s FB page and even did media interviews about it??? Talk about a healthy dose of irony, and not in the Alanis Morissette kind of way, either.

    And as far as never asking a woman if she’s pregnant, probably a good rule of thumb, but no real harm was done. I’d be willing to bet the FA was just as, if not more, embarrassed.

  12. These are the kind of situations that make we wonder why we are discussing them. Both sides share a bit of embarrassment and well as some legitimacy in argument. The bottom line though is, how much of this should the average person decide to just “let it blow by” as the consequences of daily life and how much if it requires that an issue be made of it? Perhaps I am a bit more tolerant than others but I generally do not make stinks about things unless they materially affect me or my travel or I feel that the behavior is significant enough to require discipline or procedure change. I once went through a car wash in one of my older cars and the attendant complimented me on the and asked if I had bought it new, I would have been 6 years old when it was new so obviously I would not have bought it new, but instead of feeling insulted and feeling “old” I made a slight joke about it and moved on. Sometimes you just have to have a thick skin about life and learn to pick your battles.

  13. Did you see the video of her interview with stuff.co.nz? I would have thought she was pregnant as well. That grey dress is not do her any service. I am no fashionista but that dress gives her a bulge in her mid section. Next time wear a more flattering outfit and quit whining and getting offensed about every little thing. Your 15 minutes of fame is over!

  14. Here’s the rule I live by when it comes to this – the only time to assume a woman is pregnant is when you see a baby coming out of her.

  15. Three rules to live by:

    1. Don’t ask a woman if she’s pregnant (“No, I’m not, you bastard”).

    2. Don’t remark on anyone’s weight loss (“Yeah, chemotherapy does that, you bastard”).

    3. Don’t post a blog about whether a woman is pregnant unless you want to attract a lot of comments that are unflattering to the blog.

  16. One of my (female) colleagues once shared a piece of wisdom with me and I have always followed it ….

    Never ask a woman:
    1. Her age
    2. If she’s pregnant
    3. If she used to be a man

    I think there was a story behind item #3 but I never found out 🙁

  17. Are we that desperate to preserve everybody’s precious feelings? If you don’t wanna be asked if you’re pregnant then don’t look pregnant.

    The time-out generation is going to bring about the end of the human race. Toughen up you losers.

  18. While in Staples buying gift cards, my company was my 3-year old. Who brightly asked the portly young man at the register:

    DO YOU HAVE A BABY IN YOU TUMMY?

    He seemed a bit uncomfortable, but didn’t notify the media.

  19. Maybe she decided to go public so that Jetstar would better train its crew? The woman looks nowhere near 28 weeks!

  20. Asking a non-pregnant if she’s pregnant is grounds for a justifiable attack. Just sayin’. Proceed at your own risk

  21. Sam and David: I can’t post what I think of you, but it involves a lot of unflattering four letter words. Most women who look pregnant are not. We’re fat. We have feelings. Her decision to prolong the humiliation by going public may have been ill conceived or may have been her effort to make sure this doesn’t happen to others–I have no idea. But I am certain that smug assholes like you are the problem that really needs fixing.

  22. if you check the female box on your reservation, they should make you answer if you are pregnant or not (or refuse to answer) when you check in for your boarding pass.

    otherwise they could miss someone who shouldn’t be flying and they could anger someone that’s not even pregnant.

    and if they lie.. well then it’s documented on there that they were asked.

  23. My wife was more than 30 weeks pregnant when flying earlier in the summer and nobody said a thing to her! Even though it was obvious she was and had a doctors note!
    She really wanted them to ask her so she could look angry and say no just to see their reactions!

  24. I see some hoo ha recently about a baby being born on a plane but never bothered to read. Perhaps some remnant sensitivity in the industry?

  25. The flight attendant was doing his job. If he thought she looked pregnant then it was his job to ask. He could have apologized when he realized he screwed up and maybe offered her a free drink. If she was that embarrassed then why publicize it? She’s probably looking to get something out of it.

  26. After much thought I’ve decided David got it right. If you don’t want to be mistaken for a pregnant woman, then don’t look like one.

  27. It was a rude comment but I really don’t understand the fuss. From the drama, I assumed she’d been denied boarding because they didn’t believe she wasn’t pregnant. This is an embarrassing gaffe, not a major issue.

  28. In some cultures it is perfectly acceptable to ask a woman if she is pregnant. Perhaps there is a lack of sensitivity to the FA’s cultural background?
    Must everyone conform to the Western mindset? This applies to many, many areas – age of consent, sexual preference, gender identity…what arrogance on the part of us in the West to force our perspective upon the entire globe!

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