Southwest Airlines Statement
March 5, 2008
When a customer makes it clear to us that they are unable or unwilling to show the most basic levels of respect for the comfort and safety of the other 135 passengers onboard, we have to do something. Our employees have an obligation to protect our customers, and we have an obligation to ensure a safe work environment for our employees.
Some may question the decision of our crew, but ask yourself this: When was the last time you were escorted off a plane by law enforcement? And how many times have you witnessed someone being escorted off a plane? The truth is, these are very rare occurrences.
According to our In-Flight Reports and several customer complaints, two female customers traveling on Flight #3144 from San Diego to Las Vegas on January 31, 2008 exhibited loud and obnoxious behavior from the moment they stepped onboard the aircraft. The two customers were yelling for service, flipped one of our flight attendants off, and identified themselves as a TSA employee, telling one of our flight attendants, "You will be taken care of."
Our flight attendants refused to potentially escalate the situation by serving these ladies alcohol. As a precautionary measure, and especially as one of these ladies identified herself as a security official, our flight crew requested that Las Vegas police meet the flight upon its arrival.
Dr. Phil, those are the facts. However, we feel that there is a much larger issue at play here, and therefore, we would like to point out that there are a few standard rules for flying on any airline. And, when in doubt, the Golden Rule is a good place to start.
Anyone who has flown on Southwest Airlines knows that we are a very fun and relaxed airline, but when someone threatens our customers or our crews, we have to draw the line.