New York -A young French woman prevented from boarding a flight for New York this week says she has been blacklisted by the United States because her name, if pronounced wrongly, sounds like al-Qaeda.

Aida Alic, 33, arrived at Geneva airport on Wednesday with her husband and two children to set out on a US holiday but was told by Swiss airline that they had received notice from US border authorities that she was barred from entering the country.

The airline gave no further explanation and the family had to turn around and head back to their home near Chambery in the French Alps, 2,700 euros out of pocket for the lost airline tickets. Ms Alic said that she later searched official US travel sites to find out why she was stopped and came to the conclusion that it was because of her name, which on her passport is written with her surname first, resulting in Alic Aida. ‘Alic Aida, al-Qaeda. When friends make the play on words to wind me up, I am used to it, but not this,’ Ms Alic, who was born in Bosnia but now has French nationality, told Le Dauphine Libere newspaper.