(CBS News) - A Houston pianist and cancer researcher is speaking out after she was kicked off a Spirit Airlines flight along with her 2-year-old son and elderly parents, CBS affiliate KHOU reports.
Mei Rui said she was flying to New York on Friday to participate in a cancer research study. She filmed the incident, and said before the cabin door was closed, she started breastfeeding. Flight attendants told her to stop and put the child into his seat, but Mei said she asked for a few minutes to finish to prevent her son from waking up.
Cellphone footage shows her son in his seat crying when another flight attendant instructs them to leave the plane. "You just don't have to treat people that way. He was making very loud noises, but that's not criminal," Mei said.
In a statement, Spirit Airlines stood by its flight attendants' decision to remove the family from the flight.
"Our records indicate a passenger was removed from Flight 712 after refusing to comply with crew instructions several times during taxi to runway and safety briefing," the statement said. "To protect the safety of our guests and crew, FAA regulations and airline policies require all passengers to stay seated and buckled during takeoff and landing."
Mei received a full refund but told KHOU that she won't be flying with Spirit Airlines again.
"It was humiliating to be chased off a plane in front of hundreds of people. We had never been through anything close to this," Mei said. "We're not lawbreakers or trouble seekers. We're the elderly, a baby and his mother, why did they have to treat us this way?"