Southwest Airlines is receiving some fierce criticism after a video emerged of a father and his 2-year-old daughter being kicked off one of their flights because the child was “fussing.” Reports indicate that the father and child were booted off even after the child calmed down.
Alexis Armstrong, a passenger who witnessed the event, posted a video of the child throwing a tantrum as other passengers took their seats. Immediately, flight attendants approached the pair, asking the man to calm his child down and threatening to throw them off the flight if her behavior continued.
The girl’s father asked the flight attendant for a minute alone to calm his daughter down, saying that she wasn’t helping.
“She did not like that,” Armstrong told, Law and Crime, adding that the attendant “replied, ‘Okay’ in a very nasty attitude,” and then walked away.
Eventually, the daughter calmed down and the plane began to taxi to the runway. Then, suddenly, they turned back.
That’s when the pilot made the following announcement: “Folks we are heading back to the gate for a customer service issue and to fill up gas.”
Armstrong said that passengers were completely unaware that this “customer service issue” was related to the (now calm and quiet) little girl.
Once the plane got back to the gate, both security and the flight attendant told the man and his child to deboard the plane.
“No more discussion, get back at the gate,” the flight attendant said firmly. Footage of the incident shows that the dad is completely bewildered by the situation.
As fellow passengers began to voice their objection to the flight crew’s treatment of the man and his young daughter, they were met with more belligerence.
“She’s a child. She was scared, he was trying to calm her down,” one passenger said.
“OK, this is not helpful guys,” the attendant snapped back. “Do you want to go to Atlanta or…”
“The decision has been made.”
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“I was then told by a flight attendant to shut up about the situation,” Armstrong said, explaining how staff tried to stop her from recording.
“All I really wanted was [the video] to be seen by Southwest and apologize to this family,” Armstrong said.
Southwest issued a response to the incident, as reported by Fox News.
After pushback Wednesday evening, Flight 1683 to Atlanta returned to the gate at Chicago Midway to allow supervisors to board the aircraft. Our initial reports indicate a conversation escalated onboard between the crew and a customer traveling with a small child. We always aim for a welcoming and hospitable experience and regret the inconvenience to all involved. The traveling party was booked on the next flight to Atlanta after the original flight continued as planned. We will reach out to the customer to listen to any concerns they have about their experience and look forward to welcoming them onboard again soon.
“Flight attendant got an attitude and got even,” one person commented on the video. “Tired of bully employees and the bosses that enable them.”
Ironically, the video has emerged the same week that Southwest Airlines made headlines for being ranked best carrier for economy class in a Consumer Reports survey.
(H/T: Law and Crime)