Southwest Airlines suspends, reinstates pilot after profanity-laced rant

southwest airlinesSouthwest Airlines confirms that it suspended a pilot who was caught ranting over air traffic control channels in a profane, misogynistic and homophobic manner. The event, originally reported by CBS 2 in Houston, states that the pilot’s speech on March 25 tied up frequencies for other pilots in the area.

CBS 2 (see the video reporting on the incident) says the unidentified pilot “could be heard talking to his co-pilot in the cockpit, expressing frustration over the airline hiring so many flight attendants that he found to be unsuitable for dating.” “A continuous stream of gays and grannies and grandes,” the pilot could be heard saying from the cockpit via the Houston Center air traffic control frequency.

Apparently, the pilot didn’t take into account that he himself might not be date-able (he complains that he couldn’t get laid because women he took to a bar just wanted to complain). He also ignored an air traffic controller who tried to interrupt the rant at several points. [Listen to the audio here]

The pilot bemoans his station in Houston, saying that the base has “just a handful of cute chicks.”

CBS 2 reported that air traffic control sent the tape to the Federal Aviation Administration, who in turn forwarded the tape to Southwest Airlines for review. The FAA confirmed that the conversation did take place at a time when personal conversations were permitted in the cockpit.

Southwest issued an e-mail statement to CBS2, stating: “we’ve built our Company’s reputation on the Golden Rule: treating others as you would like to be treated. The actions of this pilot are, without question, inconsistent with the professional behavior and overall respect that we require from our Employees.” The pilot was suspended without pay, but has been allowed to return to duty after undergoing diversity training.

What do you think? Is Southwest that short on pilots that this one should have been allowed to return?

[USA Today also reported on this issue.]

[Flickr via Kevin Coles]