Southwest Airlines is investigating an allegation that the University of California, Berkeley’s head basketball coach for the women’s team was stopped by ticketing personnel to “prove” her relationship to her 1-year-old son.
Lindsay Gottlieb, who was traveling with her son from Denver, Colorado, to Oakland, California, believes that the alleged incident began because she is white and her son is biracial.
Gottlieb, tweeting about her experience, wrote, “I’m appalled that after approx 50 times flying with my 1 year old son, ticket counter personnel told me I had to ‘prove’ that he was my son, despite having his passport. She said because we have different last name. My guess is because he was a different skin color.”
@SouthwestAir I’m appalled that after approx 50 times flying with my 1 year old son, ticket counter personnel told me I had to “prove” that he was my son, despite having his passport. She said because we have different last name. My guess is because he has a different skin color.— Lindsay Gottlieb (@CalCoachG) May 28, 2018
Gottlieb continued on Twitter, saying that the ticketing employee asked her to produce a birth certificate, then asked her to show a Facebook post proving that she was the boy’s mother.
@SouthwestAir she 1st asked for proof with birth certificate. She then said it’s a “federal law” (not true) but asked me to prove I’m mother with Facebook post.What??Mother next to me said she’s never been asked for proof despite diff last name..not shockingly, not mixed face fam— Lindsay Gottlieb (@CalCoachG) May 28, 2018
Southwest told ABC News that it is “looking into this specific interaction” and has “reached out to Ms. Gottlieb directly to address her concerns.”
Gottlieb said on Twitter that the alleged incident was “demeaning and insensitive, not to mention inefficient.” She added that the pair only made their flight because it was delayed and recommended better training for employees, and Southwest told ABC News that it plans to “utilize the situation as a coaching opportunity for” the employee.
Southwest also said that its “employees are well regarded for their hospitality” and that they always try to provide the best experience for anyone who chooses to travel with them but “when traveling domestically, FAA regulations require airlines to verify a lap child is under the age of 2 by reviewing a birth certificate or government-issued identification.”
“Domestic travel does not require airlines to match the last name of a child and guardian,” Southwest added.
ABC News reached out to Gottlieb for comment on the alleged incident but did not get an immediate response.