US & Canada

Southwest Airlines apologises for mocking girl's name

Southwest Airlines planes in Las Vegas Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The airline issued a "sincere apology" to the girl and her family

Southwest Airlines has apologised after a member of its staff mocked a five-year-old girl's name.

Traci Redford and her daughter, Abcde (pronounced ab-si-dee), were en route home to El Paso, Texas, from California's John Wayne Airport when the incident occurred.

A gate agent allegedly began laughing and took a photo of the child's boarding pass and posted it online.

Airline spokesperson Chris Mainz offered the family a "sincere apology".

In a statement to Buzzfeed News, Mr Mainz said the employee's social media post "is not indicative of the care, respect, and civility" the airline expects.

"We take great pride in extending our Southwest hospitality to all of our customers," the statement reads.

Ms Redford told broadcaster ABC7 that the airline "hadn't done anything" for two weeks after she had filed a formal complaint.

Ms Redford said the gate agent "started laughing, pointing at me and my daughter, talking to other employees", and her daughter had asked her why they were mocking her.

"She said: 'Mom, why is she laughing at my name?' And I said not everyone is nice and not everyone is going to be nice and it's unfortunate," Ms Redford said.

Vocativ, a news and data website, published a piece in 2014 saying there were at that time 328 children in the US named "Abcde", according to the Social Security Administration.

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