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  • 34

Man ejected from Southwest flight for tweeting that a gate agent was rude

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A Minnesota man was ejected from a Southwest Airlines flight for a tweet calling a gate agent rude, reported CBS Minnesota Wednesday. After tweeting, the man was removed from the plane and stated he was "forced" to delete the tweet before he could re-board. (arstechnica.com) More...

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pdixonj
pdixonj 14
People never seem to learn about the dangers of jumping to conclusions. Taken from SWA's own website...

"Priority standby will be provided only for A-List or A-List Preferred Members. If an A-List or A-List Preferred Member is travelling on a multiple-Passenger reservation, priority standby will not be provided for non-A-List or non-A-List Preferred Members in the same reservation. For A-List and A-List Preferred Members who are also Companion Pass Holders, priority standby will not be provided for the Member's designated Companion unless he/she also is an A-List or A-List Preferred Member."

...case closed on "that" issue.

Now, as for the agent being rude in the process of doing her job...saying that someone is being "rude" to you is HIGHLY subjective. In the world of customer service, politely telling someone they can't do something (that they probably already know they can't do) can still be interpreted as rude behavior.

Keep in mind that this guy could have just refused priority boarding and boarded ordinarily with the rest of his family. The agent's only fault was how she dealt with the situation after the fact. Instead of making the guy delete the post, what she should have done was gotten the corporate security department to follow up on man's tweeting of her name...and of course (this is America afterall) sued him if she felt threatened by him.
Fulanotucano
JH Hilliard 0
The name was public the instant the employee photo I.D. badge was put on. No leg to stand on.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 3
Public and published are two different things.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 0
We have a different deffinition of Stand-by, you and I. This was three ticketed pax , not 3 hopers. I suspect the same pecking order applies to boarding and so the CSR's ruling. But the next class to board would be folks with young children. Why not just keep his yap shut and board second. How many A list pax could there be?There are pleanty of seats on a 73. The trick is to ger out of the aisle before the rest of Walmart barges through the door. When de planing, I wait until there is a clear single file to the jetway. and generally have something nice to say to the crew on my way through the door, at least a salute with a couple of fingers or tip of my hat. All I ever carted around was boxes and containers. I never had the pleasure of carrying people other than crew. Freight doesn't talk back and doesn't give a hoot where it sits and as long as it all ballenced out me neither.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 1
Oh Mark...you're killin' me! Lol!!!!!!!!
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 2
Maybe I should try stand-up. Wadayathink?
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Do packages go standby? If it's not next day do they go space available?
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Hehe, no assigned seats. What ever the conveyor can handle. Kinda like South West. Whooops! I guess I'm banned for life.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Cattle upstairs, cargo downstairs- or is it the other way around? Sometimes it's hard to tell.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Don't get um confused. Boxes and crates don't get assigned seating.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 1
Given the number of times I've spent five hours in a 172 or 182, cattle call at SWA is pretty decent!

I have the benefit of "autopilot" and I can even go to sleep!
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Aint the auto-land grand. "Leave the driving to us"
Doobs
Dee Lowry 18
There are two sides of a pancake. We only saw the side that was burnt. He sounds like he is an entitled s.o.b. and when he didn't get his way he whined his way thru a tweet. Really...??? Don't bring your overactive "it's all about me" attitude to the airport. It doesn't work. You might be pleasantly surprised what kindness...a please and a thank you can bring you. Might want to try it out if you can check your attitude before you get to the gate! Reminds me of a passenger who went ballistic when we were #14 in line for take-off at O'Hare. He said he would never fly United again...going to fly American! I told him that sounds like a great idea but you might want to know that American is right behind us in the #15 spot for take-off. Didn't hear a peep out of him the rest of the flight.
preacher1
preacher1 4
preacher1
preacher1 8
I think that there is more to this story than is being told. That said, the cardinal sin here was calling a name and making it personal. The ticket and policies were issued/set by the airline. If he felt a complaint tweet was what he had to do, the airline name, flight# and day/time would have been sufficient. Let them investigate and respond to the customer. Same with any business. A company can tell by date/time who was working. Let them investigate and deal accordingly with their employee.
jimcander
Jim Anderson 2
I made this point down the way... the guy tweeted the CSR's NAME... Airline? Sure. Gate? Probably... NAMES??? No way.
Fulanotucano
JH Hilliard 1
And why the hell not? The into came off a publically displayed badge - that's what the info is for.
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
Well, your birth-date is probably on your drivers license. If you show it as a form of ID in a public place, is it OK to post the info to the world on twitter?
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 0
You hit the nail on the head!
yellowjacket
Joe Blow 5
JL Hilliard sounds like one obstinate S.O.B.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 5
Amazing how often two fools meet.
cm5299
Chuck Me 4
Agreed. In my experience, the worst way to deal with an agent like that is pushing back. It then becomes a power play you can't win.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

cm5299
Chuck Me 9
Yeah. He got her. Had to board with the other groups. Then dragged off the plane. Oh, he got vouchers for an airline he doesn't want to fly anymore. Victory!

Looking forward to the lawsuit he is sure to file.
bbburroughs
It seems to me that TSA screens their agents for hiring by checking security background, not intelligence.
jkudlick
Where was TSA mentioned in this article? I've read it several times and not found a single mention.
poellas44
he got what he deserved, nobody likes a smartass.
mldavis2
Mike Davis 8
The world is full of people who believe they have self-empowered authority to break the rules that apply to everyone else. Priority boarding is a status symbol for some of these, and shoehorning non-priority passengers in front of legitimate priority boarders would have angered those who felt their status was being one-upped.

TSA agents are like all law enforcement officers. When a command is given within the jurisdiction of their authority, there can be no compromise - do it or else. While this was not an egregious violation of the rules, it was nonetheless a violation. The response and attitude of the passenger to a reasonable command is inexcusable. His actions suggest he is a hot head that was probably deserving of his eviction.
Fulanotucano
JH Hilliard -1
Utter nonsense.
cm5299
Chuck Me 8
http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/07/22/family-asked-to-leave-sw-plane-after-tweet/

"I'll be sure to tweet about it!" Ha ha.

Grow up, man. "I didn't get my way. I'm going to piss and moan on twitter."


Anybody know the exact rule from SWA on this? I read conflicting things about family being allowed to use A list. In my experience, AA and UAL have zero problem letting family board with "status" groups.
smoki
smoki 4
There's not shortage of whiners these days especially now that they can whine to a large gathering of strangers via the Internet and electronic media where a lie can travel around the world before the truth can put its pants on. Southwest shouldn't have apologized nor given him any treats. Poor behavior, make that bad behavior, doesn't warrant any rewards.

And to the poster Hilliard who repeatedly below yapped that the gate agent's badge made her name a public issue thus justifying the whining at large via twitter by this disgruntled passenger, he sounds too much like this passenger, yet another whiner at large. I'm sure SWA won't miss this passenger or any of his menagerie or like minded twits in the future if they choose to fly with one of its competitors.
mldavis2
Mike Davis 4
The last boarding at SWA that I made with my grandson two weeks ago had the family with children boarding age of 4 years old. Older kids use the boarding pass sequence. What isn't clear is why all this egotistical passenger's tickets weren't in the same sequence (having been purchased at the same time) and why priority boarding is such a big deal. You all get there at the same time and sometimes you don't get to sit up front. Deal with it. While the TSA agent could have broken the rule for one passenger, then you would have dozens of other passengers wanting special favors because of connecting flights, legroom, adjacent seating - the list goes on. (As an aside, TSA agents don't board passengers, that's done by SWA personnel after passengers have cleared the TSA checkpoint.)

I was a deputy sheriff years ago and assigned to prevent traffic from turning down one road to avoid congestion. One driver defied my command not to turn because he lived down that road and didn't want to go around the section. During the time he stopped in a live stream of traffic to argue with me, he caused a rear-end collision when numerous other vehicles also stopped unexpectedly to ask why they couldn't turn down that road as he had done. After the traffic cleared and I was released from the post, I drove to the person's house down the road and issued him a citation for failing to abide a command from a law enforcement officer. The request was unreasonable due to factors that this narrow-minded person failed to understand. You cannot allow such behavior to occur without consequence. There is more to any situation than your own personal wishes. If I had witnessed a bully trying to pull such egotistical self-empowered rank, I would have spoken out as a passenger. Priority boarding costs extra. You can't pay for it (or "earn" it) on one ticket and have it apply in perpetuity to your family for the rest of your life. If it was such a big deal, why didn't this guy buy it for his kids? He's nothing but a con-artist trying to get something for nothing.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 2
You don't know the actual circumstances any more than any of us.
preacher1
preacher1 2
His tickets probably were in sequence to keep the family together. He just probably wanted to show off and be a big shot for the family.
imthatoneguy
Southwest doesn't have assigned seats though do they? So priority seating = good seats.
Fulanotucano
JH Hilliard 0
Nonsense
changed
Ed Chang 4
I am a frequent traveler and enjoy the early boarding privileges so many of the posters have condemned. I agree the passenger should have been aware of the policy, but the gate agent has the responsibility to share it with the passenger in a courteous manner. My big issue here is, after the passenger's statement of tweeting what happened, did the gate agent scan tweets to SWA to see if the passenger would carry through on his statement?

Any one of us would be completely embarrassed and fear for our jobs if someone tweeted we had treated them in a discourteous and disrespectful manner. How far would you go to put the heat back on the passenger who tweeted? Would you even say you felt threatened to get the tweet removed? Notice that was her first demand even before the supervisor arrived. Nothing like getting caught red handed.

There is enough blame to go around. If you are in the customer service organization of your company, your behavior reflects on the entire company not just you. And bad behavior towards customers certainly leads to a very short career.
watkinssusan
I worked for an airline as a gate agent for many years and I will say,"rudeness" is a perception, generally of someone who does not get their way in any given situation,from pre boarding,to carry on luggage, to missing a flight or being an "oversale"..the agent is in control of a flight and also any situation which might arise..interaction with the public,,nice,nasty, or otherwise is part of the job and agents have classes on handling situations..if it gets to be a big problem. they have supervisors and airport security personnel to back them up...people generally do not want to hear about policy or procedures and there are a lot of "me first" personalities who fly..
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
Ah, a voice of sanity at last! Oddly enough, when I travel with my son, daughter-in-law and grandson (5 yrs old), and SWA preboards "families" with small children, I am automatically included and preboard with never any problem.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 2
I have never heard of A list. They mus have created it after I last escaped BWI. The last flight with SWA, the boarding priority was given to folks with small children. They don't move as quickly or with the purpose of an adult and crews want them clear of the isles during the cattle call. I don't know how many A list pax there were, maybe two or three for this flight but had he boarded patiently he would have boarded right after them. There is a huge difference between a question and a challenge.

I remember flying through DFW to DEN on AAL and missed the connection because of a second deicing. All on board were fussing and complaining and while my wife stood in line at the counter to sort it out I got on a pay phone and called reservations. They told me if I hurried I could make a flight to DEN that was currently boarding and she could hold it if I hurried. We all 4 made the flight and were treated to first class seats. It pays to be reasonable.
DoxfordApprentice
Bill Steel 3
I am so fried with people trying to be number one. If this guy had his card and wanted to use it then he should have boarded alone. Guys like him give passengers a bad name.

[This poster has been suspended.]

mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
You can always take AMTRAK unless there is significant water in the way. Let's see, what's even more absurd?
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
I get what Mike is saying. Mass transit (which is what all airlines have become) will never reach the level of service, convenience , or comfort of private travel. If you expect to always have it your way you will be disappointed at some point and if you have a hard time excepting that you better find an alternative.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
I understood him. His analogy was awful. The airlines are "selling" privileges that mean nothing. In this case they have 'sold" the idea that boarding early is is worth much more than it is. It turns borderline sane people into jackasses.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Lol. Yes "I am special"! Better believe it....
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
You are unique, just like everyone else on the planet. 8-)
gmcmanus
gmcmanus 1
That's the spirit! Why change anything with the airlines piss poor quality of service when you can buy a fractional share of a jet! Your logic overwhelms me.
mkienzle
Mark Kienzle 9
I'm really not sure why people feel a need to make public every nuance of their life -- good or bad. It seems that it is an attention-grabbing self-confidence issue that has come of unfortunate age.
preacher1
preacher1 1
mkienzle
Mark Kienzle 10
Just a guess, but judging from his self-absorbed, needy tweet, he is nothing more than an obnoxious, self-centered passenger who deserved his fate.
tbpera
Tom Pera 2
triple yep... flew all the time.... NEVER EVER had a problem with SW personnel, in fact, they were always the best! and I don't really like flying on them...
preacher1
preacher1 1
double yep
cm5299
Chuck Me 1
The clincher for me was he admitted to "threatening"* the agent that he was going to tweet how mean she was. What a fool. I am proud of the agent for not taking this guy's crap.



* - yes. I realize this isn't a threat to her safety. That's not the context I am using for the word here. So spare me the nonsense.
jimcander
Jim Anderson 7
He named names... that's the no no... tweet all you want about the airline and maybe a gate or flight... but don't start naming names...
Fulanotucano
JH Hilliard 0
And why not?
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
You posted the same thing above about the same time.
I answered that one. Won't bother reiterating.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 3
The threat I read was no more than in the good old daze when a pax "threatened" to write a letter to the company president. I'm afraid that the word threat has become so much more since 9-11 remedies.

This guy had so many other alternatives than to start throwing his perceived weight around. South West Airlines is, many times, my only choice when escaping Maryland, so I'm familiar with their boarding procedures, although I've never heard of his classification,I'm guessing one of the perks is to board first and pick you seat. While he is a member of the club, his children are not. The next pax to board early are children and accompanied children. So after both of the other privileged pax board first he and his kiddies would have been in the second group to pick prime seating. What happened to patience and when did we all become a "me first" society.

I've been flying commercially for a loong time and have never had nor received a cross word with a Stew. or FA. They have saved me on more than one occasion with connections when we spent too long in the deicing arena and missed connecting flights. The saga of getting to Hartford the night my daughter was born was an adventure only a Stewardess could appreciate. They had me on the crew transportation right to the Hospital, God bless them all.

Think before you threaten or tweet or go to Facebook. It used to be that you had to write a letter to make a complaint and that allowed for a cooling off period. Today we have the ability to write a short note instantly while we're still "hot". Time tempers tempers These folks are on home turf at the airports and can make life easy or hard. It's generally your choice which.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 1
I agree with you Chuck. The thing is, that a "threat" is a "threat". Don't even go there...especially to crew members or customer service personnel. You just might buy yourself a one-way ticket to a "train wreck"! Bad behavior could very likely lead to very bad consequences.
cm5299
Chuck Me 3
Threatening to post something on twitter is much much much different than threatening someone's safety. All threats are not the same. We need to stop pretending all threats are the same.

Threatening to complain via twitter is in a different ballpark that a threat to someone's safety. One is being a douchebag. One is probably criminal. Much different.



I have no idea what threat the agent felt. I was just being clear my use of the word "threatening" in my post had nothing to do with violence or bodily harm. The word "threaten" can have many different meanings. Not all involve violence or bodily harm.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 7
Yes, I understand what you are saying but we only heard one side of the story...his. It wouldn't surprise me if the guy did threaten her in some way. And what I am saying is that you don't go into a "threat" mode at an airport. Crew members and CSR's will boot your "bootie" off that flying machine before you know what hit you! It's common sense not stupidity that will get you from point A to point B.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 2
That goes for the airline personnel, as well. You're correct we're only hearing one side of the story. Who knows if the gate agent was rude or antagonistic as well.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 2
I should stop abbreviating. CSR is Customer Service Representative. Maybe she did get her dander up because of his self-serving attitude.
cm5299
Chuck Me 4
Possibly. I have no problem with people being rude back to people who start crap by being rude.

Customers expect employees to kiss their rear end and not reply when a customer is totally out of line. People take the "customer is always right" stuff way too far. Like people are expected to just sit there and take it when you are a fool to an agent. Ridiculous.
Fulanotucano
JH Hilliard -4
Maybe having PMS? It doesn't matter. The customer is far more valuable to SW than that idiot agent ever could be. Fire her ass immediately.
joelwiley
joel wiley 4
PMS? Putting up with Men's S***?
After checking out your 14 comments with 12 of them on 7/25, I have to ask.
Did you just get your junior troll badge today?
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 4
Bet he's had it a long time.
cm5299
Chuck Me 1
No argument there. Just was commenting on my use of "threat". We have no idea when was actually said.

Just saw an interview with the guy on TV. He says he will probably fly SWA again. lol
Fulanotucano
JH Hilliard -5
It was, of course, the agent's fat-headed bad behavior and pretence of being important.
genethemarine
Gene spanos 4
Let's see a tweet gets you pulled off but 3 hours tarmac sitting inside a hot aircraft with no water is OK ? Enjoy the train ride sir. Much safer.
sparkie624
sparkie624 4
Southwest has their own ways... They have the right to deny boarding.
sgbelverta
sharon bias 4
The thing about a tweet is that people usually know who you are. So sometimes a tweet makes you look more stupid than the subject you were tweeting about.
aposelenzny
The passenger was in the wrong about boarding and the tweet was unfair. What the gate agent did made it worse. She should have ignored the tweet. I love SWA but this type of behavior by the gate agent is unacceptable. She should be disciplined and re-trained. They should read Zingerman's book on customer service.
Fulanotucano
JH Hilliard -5
.."retrained" ? why ? didn't get it the first time means instant dismissal - no excuse for such idiot behavior...
executivedriver
El Thirtynine 2
AWWWW, Another "entitled" customer. Gee, I hope his inner child wasn't injured.
yr2012
matt jensen 2
Common sense run amok
DTBMF
Daniel Gless 2
Buy the ticket ya takes the ride. I don't care where I sit...preferably not over the wing cause I love to look out the windows..but other then that? Don't matter cause you're gonna get there the same time as everyone else.
As for this dweeb? Entitled SOB should have/could have kept his mouth shut and his tweet silent. BUT NOOO I'm an Alister so I deserve the best of attention and I don't have to follow the rules. You're flying on the Wal-Mart In The Air, take what ya get and SHUT UP.
pjt008
Paul Thomas 2
What I don't understand is how they found his tweet and were certain beyond a doubt that it was done by him... granted it was obviously him, but that's pretty scary that they must have immediately watched for it and found it between boarding and take-off? I wouldn't put that past the NSA, but SWA?

Having said that, the guy is an uber-doche and got what was coming to him.
JetMech24
JetMech24 1
He tagged #SWA in his tweet, they probably seen it immediatley.
avihais
We will never know what actually happened but I hate people that spill their guts out "tweeting" or Facebook crap. Deal with the person one to one or F off to the bar and get pissed and whine there.
sportsinfoguy
Jon Martin 3
As a former gate agent, I can tell you that sometimes the way people say things and act is threatening. You are taught and trained to report ALL threatening behavior because if the FA would have done something he didn't think was right then it would have only escalated and the crew would have been trapped with him.

I don't know if the agent was rude or not, but she was apparently following the rules of SWA. My airline had different rules, but we didn't have open seating either. If you wanted to get on early then get on. Not a huge deal either way. Also we were always in a rush to process our aircraft and passengers. We didn't have time to check the Twitter feed to see what a passenger had said about us.
ruse21
Andre Perez 3
So he will not fly SWA again,
what a shame! I cannot get my way and the agent refused to break the rules, so here comes the tweet.
This type of behavior is becoming too common, unfortunately by giving him vouchers SWA confirmed that he was right and the agent was wrong. How can you tell your agents to follow the rules when managements is willing to break them to satisfy a moron!
watkinssusan
mr perez, I agree wholeheartedly..my experiences encompassed 2 years with one carrier and 28 with another..i can tell you the flying public has changed "drastically" from the 70's, and 80's and even the 90's, and nowadays, its the money that talks because of the competition in the airline business and the push to keep old customers and get new ones...
ruse21
Andre Perez 1
Thank you for your kind words, and you are right that flying has changed drastically.
I'm from the old Airlines school and i can vouch for that!
pvn
Paul Novarese -1
Whether the guy was a douchebag or not isn't really the issue, the agent playing the "threat to safety" card over such a matter was way worse than any temper tantrum this guy was having, and THAT is the reason SWA gave him vouchers etc.
wktaylor
Folks... a word of CAUTION RE tweets/blogs that identify an individual.

Some years ago a musician was flying to a concert on United Air Lines,. He had high value guitar tagged "handle with care". This was obviously a red flag to the baggage handler: he watched his $1000 guitar get destroyed as it was loaded into the baggage hold. When he filed a damage claim with UAL, he talked with a claims agent who he described as very polite, but unable to act on his claim. SO he wrote the song "United Breaks Guitars" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo. In this song he identified the claims agent who he worked with by name. Within hours, she was being harassed in every way by insulting and scary internet posts and walk-up comments; barbs from managers, and co-workers. It was her nightmare caused by factors outside of her control. The musician eventually wrote several follow-up songs explaining how she was just a cog … and NOT the real problem.

I think we have all had rude 2-way conversations with agents and clerks, etc, that were unproductive; Some we may actually have started by having a bad day and snapping back. However, that's where most of us dropped it and walked away... no long term harm/foul. When this guy tweeted HIS SIDE of the story to the world and identified her explicitly, he was setting her personally up for internet/blog harassment on a scale FAR beyond what the situation warranted. In-other-words instead of saying SWA has agent with short fuses and poor attitudes at xxxxxx. He was figuratively pointing a finger at her face saying she is a b*tchy agent worthy of being pointed-out specifically and punished by ALL who would read his tweet. He wanted to get this bad encounter off-his-chest with this blow-steam-off tweet… that could actually put a target on the agent’s back for weeks/months to co
Fulanotucano
JH Hilliard -7
Name Names - Point Fingers - NEVER back off from some power-made lesbo or straight bad person.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 4
Now, it's you who is going over the top. Cool it, dude.
jimcander
Jim Anderson 4
Let him rage... he's obviously suffering of multiple inadequacies...
jdriskell
Should have told him to walk!
Chrisaviation
There must be something this guy is not telling , for the flight attendant to back the gate agent....
The tweet may not have been the issue.....
He was.......
preacher1
preacher1 4
yep, if I read the story right, he got boarded and then thrown off. He got past the gate agent then pissed somebody else off.
gunfitr
Kurt Anderson 1
This whole thing is a waste of time and space.
Keonikamakana
Keonikamakana 1
What happens to some folks when they arrive at the gate? I like Dee's comment. Civility and manners often enough seem to evaporate. I still can't figure out the rush to be first on board. Sometimes I get a good seat, sometimes not. Not too many guarantees in life, but flying sure beats walking.
NF2G
David Stark 1
Exactly what did SWA think deleting the tweet was going to accomplish? It already went out if he sent it. It was seen, archived, cached, etc. You can't "delete" it from memory, virtual or wetware.

I'm surprised the ARSTechnica "journalist" did not bring this up.
Ejected
Ejected 1
Ever watch the TV show "Airline"?? It followed the gate ops of SWA. In that show it seemed as if SWA would deny a passenger from boarding for just about anything including flirting w/the gate agent. Having a couple of Beers at the Bar across from the gate. Search out a re-run and see for yourselves. Bizarre..........
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
No doubt about it, denial of service has become exceptionally subjective. A couple of months back a PIC "diverted" to an airport only an hour out from the scheduled destination, BWI as I recall, because an FA was queried about shielding the movie from the view of a minor child. For the life of me, I am unable to find a threat as it was written. To land early seemed foolish and a poor decision on the part of the PIC to save a mere 30 min, but the PIC would have had to answer to the company had he gone on. If the FA is in a bad mood and claims the perception of a threat, how do you over rule the judgement.
saskip
Next time he can save nerves flying Delta. (But no one can be forced to have a good taste.)

^.^
robpauley
Rob Pauley 1
This is a threat to our freedom of speech. I know Southwest is not the government; however, as a common carrier, it takes on some characteristics which distinguish it from your random private business. Sure, this guy probably is a jerk who feels entitled. I see his type every time I fly. That's not the point though. This is about free speech and the ability to express opinion without sanction. Wearing a name badge in a public place makes you fair game for publication of your name, so that's not the point either. After all, that's why the last name is shown as only an initial. Wake up, folks, and smell the aroma emanating from the galley when you board the aircraft for its first flight of the day! If we don't stand up for this man's right to engage in free speech, even if he's a jerk and his opinion may be in error, we all lose in the long run.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 2
They didn't stop his speech. Just didn't give him a ride.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
This type of article leaves alot to the imagination.We know what the CSR had to say, we know what the pax had to say. What is the company stand on the incident.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
True, sort of like listening to half the cell phone call in the boarding area.
robpauley
Rob Pauley 1
And I suspect not giving him a ride doesn't tend to stifle free speech? Again, our society needs to wake up before it is too late.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 3
I'm all for free speech but I'm also for capitalism. When somebody had a problem with my business I tried to work it out (and always did). But if they started spouting off in front of other customers or publicly they were "outta there". Spout all you want but expect to be treated the same in return.
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
He was entitle to speak due to his 'free speech right'. He also had the freedom to accept the consequences of his speech, which in this case led to his removal from the A/C. Freedom from the results of your own actions is not Constitutionally guaranteed sir.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 2
The First Amendment does not apply to actions between private parties, only between government and a private party.
robpauley
Rob Pauley 1
Please read my initial post about "common carriers."
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
I read it. If you mouth off to the bus driver on Greyhound, you might get bounced out the door. Common carrier doesn't mean fawning over the lowest common denominator.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 1
Regardless, it's misleading to apply that concept to a private entity. Who they are in the private sector is irrelevant.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Not enough of these folks served in the military nor worked in a bureaucracy. S_it rolls down hill and the lowest of bureaucrats will get even. The airlines have nearly become a government entity. Yes it's private money, but security is government,(see TSA)schedules are government,(routes and flight plans), why wouldn't the CSRs and flight crews act like bureaucrats? This is a clasic fight between two bullies for who's in charge. If you read your ticketing agreement you'll find it's the airline.
watkinssusan
oh good grief..this discussion has gotten way too long and out of hand..we all know that people can be rude or discourteous,and that applies to both ends of the spectrum..people in customer service as well as the customers themselves..the difference in airline positions is that due to the massive security doctrines handed down by the faa,tsa and the airlines,airline personnel can revert to that angle and its up to a supervisor,manager or yes,even the pilot of an aircraft, to determine the worth of a complaint..lets move on to some other discussion shall we??
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 2
You're invited to look over all the articles available in the news letter. This is the forum forum for this particular topic. Go to another forum if you don't like this topic or you are board with this one. The good news for you is there is another bunch of squawks coming out Friday
watkinssusan
ok mr mark lansdell..as a matter of fact I am new to this thread..thanks for the information..i worked in the airline business for about 30 years total, so a lot of topics are not new ones to me,but still of interst...
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Welcome to FA Squawks Mary Susan Watkins. If you click on a poster's ID, you can see what they have posted and commented upon and get an idea of what they are likely to say. You can search on topics going back for some time. Asiana 214 was a very hot topic for obvious reasons. You can also check the discussion boards for other conversations.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Nice to meet you. Glad you were able to add another point of view to this and other incomplete reports. Much of what is here is conjecture and opinion and nothing gets solved, but there is no shortage of ideas and different ways of looking at things.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
try the one about pilot behaving badly with ATC for a change.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 1
You must have missed the good stuff between the Dreamlifter and SWA's wrong airport landings. Then there was the genius aircrew actions from Asiana.
pdixonj
pdixonj 1
Clarification on SWA's boarding of families...

"An adult traveling with a child four years old or younger may board during Family Boarding, which occurs after the “A” group has boarded and before the “B” group begins boarding. Those holding an “A” boarding pass and traveling with small children should still board with the “A” boarding group. If a child four years old or younger is holding a “B” boarding pass, the child and accompanying adult traveler may board during Family Boarding (between groups “A” and “B”)."

His children were age six and nine, so he should have boarded with the same boarding group as his children, or boarded as an A-lister and blocked off two seats for his kids (assuming it can be done without causing an onboard fight).
Fulanotucano
JH Hilliard -3
.another lawyer heard from - we're more interested in the PR and/or CEO confirming the agent was fired.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 4
I'm not sure we're is the proper term.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
I get that the guy feels entitled, and that he's probably a jerk, but I don't get that the airline has the right to boot someone off the plane because a tweet reflects poorly on one of its employees behavior. There were no threats mentioned in the article. It sounds pretty high-handed to me and I have to believe there's something more to this than written about. Putting myself into his position, I surely would think I could tweet my dissatisfaction (except I don't tweet, but you get what i mean).
AWAAlum
AWAAlum -2
And, oh yeah, I wouldn't want my children separated from me in that environment either. I realize he could have given up his boarding priority, but as a gesture of good will, the gate agent could also have given the kids a pass.
DTBMF
Daniel Gless 3
Give the kids a pass and screw the other A list borders then?
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 1
He wasn't ejected, he was removed. I want my money back.
VisApp
Dave Mills 1
Two sides to every story. That said, this whole thing sounds really petty. Bent out of shape over a tweet? Really?
"I'm gonna tweet about this."
"My safety feels threatened."
Drama. Drama. Drama. Aw, c'mon both of you. Grow up.
SWA800
Alex Soyka 1
While I do agree that they should have boarded in family after Group A, I dont understand how the agent felt "threatened" Only thing the passenger said was that she was rude-----how is that threatening someone? Now if this isnt the only whole story----sounds like she gets offended too easily and shouldn't be a Gate agent, your not suppose to take this stuff personally. I wonder what this agent is like during the winter time during blizzards and thunderstorms in the summertime
SWA800
Alex Soyka 1
Whoops on grammar error----"now if this isn't the entire story"
bsmithe
Thanks Jim. I am a bit surprised by that. Regarding the event itself, I agree that the passenger was being pushy and rude. As someone already mentioned, The passenger should have moved back if he wanted to be with his kids. Nonetheless, ejecting him from the flight for a negative tweet was excessive.
jimcander
Jim Anderson 4
Brandon... he named names... that's the trigger... he called out the CSR to everyone following SW. That'll get anyone bounced...
Fulanotucano
JH Hilliard -6
Why naming an sob as a sob should bounce back badly is a mystery. A agent may be a sob and there's no rule against calling a spade a spade, or a sob a sob.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 1
If the accompanying passenger(s) were adults I'd say follow their policy. But in the case of those passengers being the A-Lister's minor children, give the guy a break and let them be seated with him. That's a simple courtesy they should extend to someone who spends so much money with their business.

The actions by the employee for the tweet... now, that's very much over the top.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 1
Folks here are going on and on about the "whiner" but given how the gate agent reacted to an upset passenger and threatening removal if a tweet is not deleted, I can't help but go with the passenger on this one.
yr2012
matt jensen -3
It was just common sense for that gate attendant to have allowed the children to board with their father. Instead, she'll hopefully be sent for re-education or at worst be fired. It's unnecessary to cause this kind of outcome.
Lneward
Lance Neward 2
It's common sense for the father to want to board with his children, so why didn't he? Because he was greedy and wanted privileges for his children that he and they had not earned. He could have boarded with his kids if he had just walked back and gotten in line with them. Alternatively, he could have bought them all Business Select tickets, instead of trying to game the system.
Lneward
Lance Neward 2
It was just common sense that he could have boarded with his children, all he had to do was to walk back in line and stand with them. However, he wanted to be greedy, for himself and for them, so that they could have something that they had neither earned nor paid for. Alternatively, he could have bought Business Select tickets for them all and been in the first 15 or so to board, rather than trying to game the system and then pout when he got caught.
akebonolove
bob elmar 0
I am sorry but I see it completely differently as my experience has been that gate agents are totally rude often. She felt threatened, then let him board only to kick him off AFTER she let him board?! What kind of logic is that???
Doobs
Dee Lowry 4
Well, I'm not sorry. After he had his "twitter" tantrum...he probably took his attitude on the airplane and most likely started to tell everyone around him how he and his children were dissed by the gate agent...bla, bla, bla. Well I'm sure he wasn't quiet about it so Flight Attendants are now accessing this condition. They didn't like what the saw or experienced either so here comes the "Boot". If a passenger is ranting and raving onboard an aircraft...F/A's will try to calm this person down. If he continues his behavior...he's now considered a possible threat to his fellow passengers and Flight Crew. He didn't care about his children. It was all about him and his priority boarding "A-List" pass, which the children didn't have. Therefore, his boarding priority drops until the A-List" priority people have boarded. This situation is such a common event and the press just jump on it when they can and sensationalize the event. We're suppose to feel sorry for this idiot. Don't feel sorry for him at all. He's lucky that SWA gave him a ride home. Again, there is alot more to this story that's not being told.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
You are absolutely correct in saying there's a lot more to this story not being told. There are a lot of theories people are dreaming up in their heads and posting as to what led to his being kicked off the plane and not one of us know what that was. You nor anyone else knows that he didn't care about his children - that comment to me is just as bad as his tweet. He clearly used poor judgment when he tweeted the name of the agent he was offended by, but it surely isn't illegal, nor in my humble opinion, a reason to get kicked off the plane. Maybe she was inappropriate as well - we don't know. Tweeting away your frustration is far healthier than getting physical. Not saying it was necessarily the right thing to do - but it sounds to me as though the entire issue was blown way out of proportion.
piper8083
Michael Smith 0
You better be nice to me or I'm going to tweet you bad!!!! Oh please. Whatever. Do you want a ticket or not. A childish act doesn't need to be followed by a childish act.
Flightdog
Roger Curtiss 0
So, if this guy, instead of tweeting simply told other people that gate agent (whatever her name is) at gate xx was rude would she have removed him from the plane?

I think we have something called the First Amendment right to free speech. He used it-she didn't like it and should have shrugged it off or put a note in his passenger file (the dreaded 'permanent record') that he was an a-hole.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 0
The First Amendment does not apply between private parties but the agent still went over the top in her actions.
TumblingBear
Rob Harrison -5
I appreciate the tweet, I am glad to learn that I am not the only airline customer subjected to rude, indifferent treatment. Mediocre service and arrogant, disinterested employees seem to be the norm, fostered by union membership, I suspect, at U S airlines. Long gone are the days of polite, friendly service, to my observation. Maybe this is why Etihad,among many others,have pulled WAY ahead of any USA airline in customer satisfaction.
sgbelverta
sharon bias 3
Many of the top rated airlines are based in countries that have legal systems that I would not want to tangle with. If I was an employee there, I'd suck it up and play nice at whatever cost. Better to swallow my pride than end up in a very bad situation. The exception being Russia, which has cruddy airlines and a worse legal system.
preacher1
preacher1 5
Good Customer Service(kissing butt if necessary) is still a revered way of life in some parts of the world, not subservient slavery and demeaning as it is by most here nowadays.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 2
LOLOLOLOL - do you REALLY down deep believe you were the only airline customer treated poorly? I can't stop laughing.
n7224e
BC Hadley 1
As ye sow, so shall ye reap.
stevooz
steve rogers -6
so much for freedom of speech , please be silent while boarding , no tweeting and definitely do not insult our agents , sounds to me like that tsa agent should loosen up is belt , the reason he has a job is because of travelers willing to put up with all the crap that is imposed on us at airports , never mind the $8.00 slice of pizza .
jkudlick
Freedom of speech only applies to the inability of the government to retaliate against something stated, unless that statement endangers the public in some manner. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from retaliation by other individuals or by corporations.
sconklan
Oh please. His tweet was the equivalent of filing a report with the BBB. It was no threat. It was just an Airline Nazi showing her power. Let's say he was a jerk; let's say she did her job. Customers have a right to complain. There was no threat; had there been a threat, he would have been arrested and SW would not have issued refunds and vouchers for future flights.
bsmithe
Brandon Smithe -4
Any thoughts about freedom of speech being threatened here?
jimcander
Jim Anderson 8
Sigh...

"Freedom of speech only applies to the inability of the government to retaliate against something stated, unless that statement endangers the public in some manner. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from retaliation by other individuals or by corporations."

Thanks to Jermey below...
DTBMF
Daniel Gless 1
I would say Freedom FROM speech might fit better.
Fulanotucano
JH Hilliard -6
Fire that agent immediately for costing my company 1,000 times more than the drain on the payroll. There is no excuse for the stupidity of having such drones on the payroll.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 3
Maybe they did and it wasn't or hasn't been reported yet. These articles seldom have a follow up, you know that

By the way, you're acting much like the guy in the article.

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