A mother of a biracial son, who is one year old, was outraged by Southwest Airlines staff request to prove that she is the mother of the boy.
Lindsey Gottlieb is head women‘s basketball coach at the University of California at Berkeley. She was flying from Denver to Oakland when the incident happened. She claims that a Southwest Airlines employee came up to her and her son Jordan and asked to see the child‘s birth certificate. The employee wanted proof that she is the mother.Mother With Her Son
The woman did not have the document with her, but instead offered the passport of her son. Unfortunately, her son‘s and her last names did not match. They also have different skin colors, for the reason that she is white and her son‘s father is African American.
Therefore, the employee did not accept the passport and wanted more proof. She asked to show Facebook post as an evidence.
Gottlieb later posted on Twitter that the behaviour of the employee was "demeaning and insensitive, not to mention inefficient." She also suspected that such behaviour was more related to different skin colors and not last names.
The “mother next to me said she’s never been asked for proof despite last name,” Gottlieb later tweeted, adding that she was not surprised by this, because her family had the same race.
According to HuffPost, the airlines later apologized in a statement, stating that they did not mean to make Gottlieb uncomfortable. The Southwest Airlines stated that its "policy is to verify lap children are younger than the age of two by reviewing a birth certificate or government-issued identification."
"Certain international locations require us to verify additional paperwork for those traveling with a minor. Domestic travel does not require carriers to match last names of a child and guardian," the airlines' statement said.
According to Southwest Airlines regulations, passengers with infants on their laps should acquire a verification document from a ticket counter. This procedure requires birth certificate.
On social media, many women were outraged, however, there were those that defended the airline. Model Chrissy Teigen tweeted to Gottlieb and Southwest Airlines saying: “Once I learned it’s a precaution for the very real threat of child trafficking, I stopped being exasperated with it. Now, I’m kind of worried when they don’t ask,”