Believe or not, Southwest Airlines is at again: a mother had a very uncomfortable and rather offensive experience this week at Denver International Airport when a Southwest Airlines gate agent asked that she prove that her one-year-old son was actually hers.
Lindsay Gottlieb had flown with Southwest many times in the past as a basketball coach at the NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Southwest employee still insisted that they see her son’s birth certificate because the two have different last names, and her son is of a different color than her.
Gottlieb explained in a tweet after the incident that the employee eventually asked her to confirm her son’s parentage with a Facebook post, but did it while both of the baby’s parents were present.
The mother told The Washington Post that they had a passport that verified their son’s age and identity, and both of the parents were present.
However, they were still pushed to prove that he was their son, which felt very disrespectful.
The airline issued Gottlibed an apology after she reported the incident on Twitter, and the company explained that it’s their policy to use a birth certificate or government issued ID to verify that a lap child (a child who flies for free) is under the age of 2, and not to ensure that the child and parent’s last names match.
Gottlieb, however, still believes that the incident was linked to the fact that her son has a different skin color.
Her tweets gained a lot of popularity, and one of the commenters was Chrissy Teigen, who replied that a similar thing has happened to her, but explained that she has since learned that the extra security is to prevent child trafficking.
Southwest’s policy does not explicitly state it, though, nor did the officials cite that this was the reason for the additional questioning.