Two volatile subjects collided when the issues of airline customer service and breastfeeding came together during a recent American Airlines flight.

A woman claims a flight attendant on a flight from Los Angeles to Washington, DC last month told her to cover up while breastfeeding her five-month-old baby “because there are kids on the this flight,” even though no one could see the mother in her seat.

The woman filed a complaint with American and got a response from the company last week, which has touched off a firestorm of controversy after she posted the missive on Facebook. It has since been shared almost 6,000 times.

The letter begins with an apology, but unfurls when telling the woman exactly what proper decorum is for feeding children aboard a plane:

To offer some clarity, we certainly do allow for the breast-feeding of infants on our flights. However, because of the offense that may be taken by others within the close confines of commercial aircraft, we simply ask that breast-feeding be done with certain discretion and a sense of modesty. We believe it is reasonable to ask that the mother cover-up in an appropriate manner during the feeding, and by your account it appears that you were sensitive to this need.”

Incidentally, American’s website does not offer a specific policy on nursing, which can certainly only add fuel to the fire of this story.

Below is the letter in question. Read for yourself to see what the fuss is all about.

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