Southwest comments on the removal of unruly women from their flight

Over the past few Southwest Airlines stories we’ve gotten to know Southwest PR department pretty well, and I recently had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Paula Berg.

I asked her about the purported fiasco that’s unfolding around another round of women being booted from her airline’s flights and she had the following to say:

“Okay, Grant – Here are the facts…on Flight: #3144 from San Diego to Las Vegas on Jan. 31, 2008, two female passengers were being extremely loud and obnoxious from the moment they stepped on the aircraft. The two Customers were yelling for service from the Flight Attendants while they were in the midst of taking drink orders, and flipping people off. For that reason, our Flight Attendants refused to potentially escalate the situation by serving the girls alcohol. The girls then identified themselves as “TSA Employees,” told one of our Flight Attendants that she “would be taken care of,” and continued to harass our Flight Attendants and Customers throughout the flight. As a precautionary measure, our Flight Crew decided to have law enforcement meet the flight upon its arrival in Las Vegas.

Those are the facts, but I think it is important to point out that, there are rules for flying on any airline. And, when in doubt, the “Golden Rule” is a good place to start.

Just consider for a moment, if someone came into your office or place of business and started yelling, cursing, and flipping your customers off…you’d probably do one of three things 1) ask them to stop, 2) ask them to leave, 3) or call the cops. Unfortunately, when you’re at 35,000 feet, you can ask the Customer to stop, but you don’t have the luxury of simply asking the Customer to leave.

When a Customer makes it clear to 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 rare occurrences.

Anyone that has flown on us knows that we typically have a very fun, relaxed, and enjoyable environment onboard our aircraft. But when someone threatens our Customers or our Crews, we have to draw the line.

We have +34,000 Employees that work hard everyday to make this a great airline. Obviously, we’re not perfect. We make mistakes. And, with 100 million passengers flying with us each year, not everyone is going to have a perfect travel experience. When we do something wrong, we try to fix it, proactively in many cases. But, we do not believe this is one of those cases.

If these two Customers truly have an issue with how the situation played out onboard, I would ask them to contact our Customer Relations Department. We have a team of Customer Relations Employees on hand that are dedicated to assisting our Customers (I know, because I started my airline career in that department seven years ago).”

We’d like to thank Paula for all of her attentive work and attention she’s given us at Gadling. The facts, straight from the airline, always help straighten issues out when it comes to fiascoes like this.

Read the original article here.