“NEVER, NEVER, NEVER ask ANY woman if she is pregnant!” That’s a piece of sound advice on etiquette delivered by a leading counsellor – and Jetstar appears to have ignored it.
The airline has apologised to a female passenger after a male flight attendant inquired if she was 28 weeks pregnant. The woman is not pregnant.
Andersen, 24, does not look overweight in pictures published of her in New Zealand. Yet when she was flying from Wellington to Auckland on Sunday with Jetstar, she said a male attendant indicated his stomach and said something she couldn’t hear. When she asked him what he meant, he asked her if she was 28 weeks pregnant.
Andersen said the comment left her feeling embarrassed and self-conscious, as other passengers heard it. On arrival in Auckland, she asked the senior flight attendant (also male) about it and was told that female passengers were sometimes asked for safety reasons if they were more than 28 weeks pregnant.
The woman vented her feelings about the incident on Jetstar’s Facebook page.
Jetstar’s policy requires expectant mothers 28 weeks pregnant or more to carry a medical certificate from a doctor or midwife, dated no more than 10 days before travel.
The airline contacted Anderson on Tuesday evening, offering her an apology and a NZD 100 voucher, the paper said.
The mistake has happened before, with Jetstar’s New Zealand staff challenging women (both those who were pregnant and those who weren’t) about their condition.
Incidentally, the counsellor who wrote “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER ask ANY woman if she is pregnant!” did so in an article called “12 Things You Should Never Ask a Woman”, published by the Huffington Post. Toronto-based personal trainer, counsellor and therapist Erica Berman justified her injunction as follows.
- It’s none of your damn business;
- If she’s not, you’ve just deeply insulted her;
- If she is, she may not be making it public yet;
- She may simply have eaten a big burrito;
- She may have a medical problem that makes her appear pregnant and you’ve just humiliated her (I saw a woman for counselling who had to use a surrogate because of multiple cysts which made her appear full-term pregnant);
- She may be struggling with infertility and taking meds that cause bloating or swelling of the ovaries and you are just rubbing salt in her wounds;
- It’s none of your damn business.
But is it the business of an airline? Jetstar could perhaps contemplate Berman’s advice.
Written by Peter Needham