This is a really sad story and shows that even customer-friendly Southwest Airlines has power-tripping flight attendants.
After a three-hour mechanical delay, a man was ejected after jokingly asking a flight attendant if the water being handed out was vodka.
That’s literally it.
I figured there had to be more to the story, but eyewitness accounts fully back up the passenger. Peter Uzelac was seated next to the ejected passenger and shared what happened.
Southwest Flight 478 a “direct” flight from Sacramento (SMF) to Austin (AUS) with a ground stop in Los Angeles (LAX), encountered a maintenance issue upon pushback in Sacramento. That escalated into a multi-hour delay. About three hours into the delay, FAs came down the aisles offering water.
The ejected passenger said:
They should be passing out vodka because we’ve been waiting so long.
A flight attendant overhead his comment and responded:
I don’t think that and I didn’t like your joke.
Another passenger chimed in:
Look it, we’ve been on this plane for hours!
The flight attendant responded:
Well, so have I, so get used to it.
The FA then proceeded to call the cockpit and ask the captain to return the flight to the gate. Sheriff’s deputies met the flight and escorted the man up. Many, according to Uzelac, stood up to defend the passenger, insisting he had done nothing wrong.
But the passenger was kicked off. Unsurprisingly, he was not charged with any crime.
Southwest’s response is a big shrug:
We regret any less-than-positive experience a customer has onboard our aircraft. We welcome over 100 million customers each year, and we aim to maintain the comfort of all while delivering Southwest hospitality. We will share this report with our Customer Relations Team.
Power-tripping flight attendants do not belong in the air. Maybe there is more to this story than meets the eye, but I doubt it…watch the local news report above. Extended flight delays bring out the worst in all of us. But a flight attendant, placed in a position of trust, must never take out frustration on the passenger.