Woman Slams Southwest Airlines Desk Staff After Being Asked For Proof That Her Biracial Son Is Hers

Date June 1, 2018 11:20

Travelling with children can be a dramatic experience for parents. But for University of California Head Coach, Lindsay Gottlieb, a recent trip with Southwestern Airlines left her with a sour taste in her mouth for all the wrong reasons.

While boarding a flight from Denver to Oakland with her 1-year-old son, Gottlieb said she was stopped from boarding by a desk agent who insisted she prove the child was hers. According to a tweet shared by Gottlieb, the reason given was that the baby had a different last name from her.

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Gottlieb was travelling with the father of her son, Patrick Martin, who is the African-American. The coach believes that the real reason why she was subjected to additional checks was because of the baby’s skin color, suggesting racial bias.

After additional verification was provided, Gottlieb was allowed to board the plane with her fiancé and baby.

The airlines are not required to match the last names of children and guardians for domestic flights. Clearly, there was no justification for the incident as Gottlieb described. Following her tweet, Southwest Airlines responded to Gottlieb in a statement saying:

We have reached out to Ms. Gottlieb directly to address her concerns and will utilize the situation as a coaching opportunity for our employee. We apologize if our interaction made this family uncomfortable — that is never our intention.

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Reactions from social media have been mixed with some people calling the action by Southwest Airlines staff as high-handed. Others feel the situation may have been handled differently. Even Chrissy Teigen weighed in on the issue, saying she has her own fair share of trouble when travelling with her biracial children.

There is a very real problem of child trafficking in America, and incidents like this again bring the issue to the forefront.

Gottlieb while speaking with The Associated Press hopes her case will bring some attention to the issue of identification in general.

I hope the coverage this has received can serve as a learning opportunity and that all families — regardless of how ‘traditional’ they may or may not look — are treated with dignity and respect.

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