Breast-feeding mom settles with TSA over PHX incident

A Hermosa Beach mother says she has won a legal settlement against the TSA. Photo: Associated Press.

A Hermosa Beach mother says she has won a legal settlement against the TSA. Photo: Associated Press.

A Hermosa Beach woman who sued the Transportation Security Administration after she claimed officers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport harassed her four years ago over her son’s breast milk has won a tentative legal settlement against the agency, she told me on Tuesday.

All the details are in the story on our main website. But Stacey Armato, the plaintiff, told me she’s receiving $75,000 from the government. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, she said, the TSA will also retrain employees about breast milk policy.

In the February 2010 incident, Armato declined to allow her son’s breast milk to go through the X-ray machine. While this was permitted under TSA rules, Armato claimed in court papers that she was then harassed and embarrassed by the TSA screeners. They even called the police to investigate, Armato said.

“Moms can now travel more confidently with their breast milk,” Armato said in an interview on Tuesday. “It’s a big day for breast-feeding moms.”

A TSA spokesman said the agency had no comment.

Armato and her son. Photo courtesy of Stacy Armato.

Armato and her son. Photo courtesy of Stacy Armato.

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American Airlines drops Santa Barbara-Los Angeles route

American will no longer fly to Santa Barbara. Handout photo by Lawrence Anderson.

American will no longer fly to Santa Barbara. Handout photo by Lawrence Anderson.

American Airlines will cease flying between Los Angeles International Airport and Santa Barbara, effective April 1, the airline said Thursday.

I had read rumors this was happening and in December contacted Santa Barbara Airport. At the time, airport spokeswoman Lynn Houston told me that the rumor was not true. But unfortunately for the airport, it was.

“We continually evaluate our network to ensure we’re maximizing our fleet and profitability while matching customer demand. As part of this ongoing process, beginning April 1, American will no longer offer service between Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX),” American spokesman Matt Miller said in an email. “US Airways will continue to offer customers access to SBA from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).”

As most travelers know, American and US Airways are now both operated by American Airlines Group. Eventually, probably mid-2015, they’ll have a single operating certificate and be run as one airline.

This move makes a lot of sense. American was never in this market to fly passengers between L.A. and Santa Barbara. It was about making sure travelers in Santa Barbara had access to the airline’s network — that they could get to New York or Hawaii or London with one stop. Phoenix, which has been a US Airways hub, mostly serves the same purpose, though with one major drawback. For now, US Airways does not offer any long-haul international flights from Phoenix. So until that changes, Santa Barbara customers flying American/US Airways will have limited international connection options. The same problem goes with American’s OneWorld partners. There are a few OneWorld international flights from Phoenix, but not many. LAX has a lot more — flights to Asia, South America and Europe on American’s partners.

Of course, loyal American customers always have the opportunity to drive to LAX.

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