Skip to content
Log In | Sign Up Connect

What’s your story?

Share and find customer experiences

Connect with the people behind them

Wacktrap is
feedback made social

Post Your Wack Now

Trending Content


Call for Southwest Airlines Boycott in Homophobic Pilot Rant Gay Bashing

| Share

by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

A Southwest Airlines employee is back to work flying passengers--after the pilot's open mic taped audio rant filled with obscenities and homophobic slurs, open admission of hating gays, and dubbing overweight women "pigs". Lawmakers and customers call for a boycott of the airline. Southwest seems fine with gay-bashing but others want the airline's California contracts yanked.
Southwest has had the gall to chalk up the pilot's rant to a "private conversation" and isolated incident. It's good to know the airline at least tries to keep its internal acts of discrimination "private".
Gay men and women -- and the female gender in general -- can feel "secure" in knowing they just may be on a flight steered by a homophobic, hate-filled pilot. After all, the pilot who spewed words of hatred is flying again for Southwest Airlines, right now.
Southwest seems to think it's all ok: The airline claims it sent the pilot to "diversity training" instead of firing him. Gays and lesbians are among those who don't subscribe to the belief that all is well with the airline that actually, specifically, targets the GLBT market. Yeah, Southwest Airlines wants cash for flights from gays, but the airline isn't supporting them.
Southwest Airlines can look forward to customers, including gays and lesbians and Californians boycotting the airline and its flights until the company makes a serious fix -- including a call for a very overdue firing and more than public apology. If Southwest doesn't do something to fix its credibility and reputation, fast, the perception remains that those claims by the airline -- that it fully supportsf the gay and lesbian community -- makes the company nothing more than a big, fat liar. That would be a liar the gay community doesn't want to "donate" any more money to through purchases of services.
Southwest Airlines had suspended -- but did not fire, and has not fired -- a Houston-based pilot employed by the company after an open microphone transmitted his conversation with at least one co-pilot, in a rant that air-traffic controllers in Houston, Texas, alerted FAA supervisors who reportedly forwarded the audio tape to Southwest Airlines.
In late March, Southwest did nothing about a pilot's rant degrading women, the gay, lesbian and transgender community -- and the company's own employees. That disgusting rant is already placing the airline's position as the preferred airline for lawmakers in Sacramento, in jeopardy -- and an open boycott of the airline is stewing as the company still refuses to take any serious action against the hate-filled pilot that even used the words "I hate" among his slurs.
While Southwest Airlines should be "celebrating" its 40th Anniversary, others have a different view of the airline even continuing its existence in the Golden State. While some say they'll never fly the airline again, others want Southwest literally out for good -- removed from California.
Assemblywoman Fiona Ma has been the most vocal lawmaker irate over the homophobic and derogatory rant that occurred via an accidentally "open" microphone. Ma's pushing for a complete boycott of Southwest over the scandal that includes a lack of solid action by the airline: The San Francisco Democrat has not only verbally slammed Southwest Airlines after its pilot's rant, and she's asking fellow lawmakers to stop flying Southwest after the open expression of hatred.
So far, Southwest Airlines has simply sent its gay-bashing and hate-filled pilot to "diversity training" and suspended him for less than three months. Customers say that's far from enough.
As a slap in the face to its customers, Southwest is now allowing the same pilot to fly for the airline again as of late June -- amid demands the pilot be fired.
The Southwest employee's bashing of gays, bashing of women, and comments about fat or overweight flight attendants may be very bad for the airline. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, also a frequent flier, is drafting a letter to the state General Services Department -- officially requesting California state sever any and all contracts with Southwest Airlines. The California lawmaker says she's appalled by the pilot's actions and spewing of obscenities and slurs that occurred March 24, 2011, on a departing plane flight from Austin, Texas.
Ma says the Southwest "punishment" meted isn't good enough -- and that, if something more doesn't come from the airline in the form of action by Southwest, she expects the state of California to get rid of the airline altogether.
The Southwest pilot being "suspended without pay for an undetermined period" turned out not to be that undetermined: After his rant of hatred where he bashes gays and women fairly equally, the male pilot returned to fly for Southwest in June -- less than three months after the disgusting tirade.
Regardless of the pilot's suspension length, flyers are saying suspension simply is not good enough.
Southwest Airlines seems to think it is: the airline says its pilot "apologized for his actions" and underwent additional diversity training "to reinforce the company's expectations for all employees to demonstrate respect for others." The pilot certainly hasn't "apologized for his actions" to anyone except maybe Southwest -- who cuts his paycheck. It's the kid who got caught with his hand in the candy jar.
But the airline's employee hasn't said a damn word to anyone else about the incident and doesn't even have the guts to face the public or admit it was him who made the homophobic and derogatory rant in March. He's far too cowardly -- and so, it seems, is Southwest. Southwest Airlines won't release the name of the pilot who it still employs. That, of course, makes it impossible for customers to know if they are actually passengers on the plane of some unpredictable pilot -- filled with hate.
Let's get real, Southwest: No "diversity training" in the world cures that kind of hatred so openly expressed.
Right now, the company's lack of action is a display that Southwest Airlines subscribes to the same hateful remarks expressed by its pilot. Customers and passengers have no other option than understanding that reality -- when the airline refuses to take any action indicating otherwise, or indicating respect for women and the gay and lesbian community.
Southwest Airlines must have a pretty interesting concept about what demonstrating respect for customers means -- particularly its gay, lesbian and transgender passengers who the company seems to have lulled into believing were safe from discrimination and hatred while in its care and on its flights.
Apparently that hatred was just behind one closed door. The lack of action means that hatred may lie around other closed doors, just a pilot away. Southwest Airlines seems to have no problem sending the signal that the company will stand for discrimination in the workplace -- and on its flights.
It's all worthy of a firing-- not a simple suspension. But Southwest Airlines doesn't mind having pilots, with a role of ensuring passenger safety, who are derogatory toward women and openly homophobic -- and who seem to have no issue in spreading that hate.
It's all a bit ironic since Southwest Airlines claims "GLBT Outreach". In fact the airline markets its supposed openness and acceptance of the gay community, with website statements: "At Southwest Airlines, we take pride in our outreach and commitment to the GLBT community." Maybe the more accurate statement is: "If you're gay, we'll take your money -- but we won't be backing you or your safety." While Southwest has no problem taking cash from the gay community for flights, it obviously has a problem supporting the same community it targets for services.
According to Southwest, the airline opposes defamation of gays and lesbians: "As an example, we are the official airline of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA), and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)."
None of that is good enough when you back a pilot with a homophobic rant -- an employee you allow to bash gays, then choose to employ again.
The airline has recently brought the pilot back on board from suspension, to fly passengers. Back in March Southwest Airlines suspended the pilot temporarily -- it seems the company hoped that would be just long enough to get the employee's rant out of public view, for the open mic rant would blow over quickly. Things don't blow over so quickly when an employee seems to find it so easy to include repeated homophobic slurs and a spewing of hate, all under four minutes' time. The Southwest employee's recorded audio isn't simply a conversation that may be deemed "politically incorrect": He outright states that he "hates" gays.
For those unfamiliar with the infamous rant, on March 24, the Southwest Airlines pilot was talking to co-pilots -- in what sounds like a Texas accent -- about his Tucson to Indianapolis flight run that occurred for about a month. During that time, the pilot refers to "Chicago crews" assigned to work with him. He has a lot to say about those fellow employees, specifically flight attendants he's recently worked on planes from Houston and Chicago.
Here's how the open mic rant begins with excerpts from the transcript taken by traffic control, while the Southwest Airlines pilot jammed lines with his conversation to co-pilots: "There's 12 flight attendants, individual, never the same flight attendant twice. 11 fucking over the top, fucking ass-fucking homosexuals...11. I mean think of the odds of that. After that, it was just a continuous stream of gays and grannys and grandes [ fat women].
A co-pilot in the background, indistinguishable, responds, and the Southwest pilot continues: "Well, I don't give a fuck -- I hate a hundred percent of their [gay] asses."
The Southwest pilot apparently seems to enjoy sexual relations with co-workers. The airline doesn't seem to address that in its "diversity training": While the pilot talks about going out to bars with co-workers, he refers to a female (assumed to be a flight attendant) as "part do-able". He says "I went to the bar three times -- once with the grannies and the fags, and I wish I hadn't gone." He then goes on with a mainly one-sided conversation, to express what appears to be severe disappointment in a wasted night. Basically, he didn't get laid.
The Southwest pilot complains about the co-workers who were with him at a bar -- one of whom he claims was berating her sister, while the other female he claims "just wanted to bitch about her husband." It's unclear which of the two women the pilot considered "part do-able" -- the married or unmarried woman.
Air traffic control allows the rant continue well through the worst parts of the gay-bashing remarks, finally stepping in after comments about co-workers at Southwest. After more than a minute into the rant, a male air traffic control dispatcher finally breaks into the transmission to say: "OK, whoever is transmitting better watch what you're saying now." Apparently the Southwest pilot's open expression of hatred for gays wasn't enough for anyone to speak prior. That is, unless everyone was simply stunned beyond words.
The Southwest pilot was obviously too wrapped up in his story, self-absorbed or just too plain stupid to hear the air traffic controller's warning. The pilot continues his story about the bar and co-workers, the women he didn't sleep with: "Friendly -- but they were both still know what I mean? I still wouldn't want anyone to know if I had banged them."
Nice. Apparently the pilot has high self-esteem.
The Southwest employee then goes on to refer to women as "pigs" and doesn't seem too fond of being based in Houston -- in the same state as Southwest's corporate office: "Now I'm back in Houston [Texas], which is easily one of the ugliest bases. There's all these old dudes and grannies...and there's like, maybe, a handful of cute chicks."
The pilot's co-workers out of Houston will love to know that "fact" -- particularly the ones he's already slept with.
Air traffic control finally breaks the transmission again: "OK, someone's got a stuck mic and is telling us about their...endeavors. We don't need to hear that."
While air traffic control may not need to hear it, the rest of the nation does: In particular, those customers and passengers whom have chosen to fly Southwest Airlines and paid the company that has no problem employing homophobic and hate-spewing pilots. As in life, the theory that where there's one, there's more, virtually always proves true.
Southwest Airlines won't release the pilot's name. Apparently, someone else doesn't have enough guts to admit to the scenario either. Perhaps he's afraid some of that hate will come back to greet him -- a plausible fear.
The flight attendant's union is likely going to be filing a lawsuit with a discrimination charge against Southwest Airlines over the pilot's expression of hate and words used.
The FAA response may be equally disgusting: According to FAA statement, "The incident occurred during a phase of flight in which personal conversations are permitted in the cockpit."
Southwest claims it won't release the name of the pilot because it is a "personnel issue." That's of course an interesting line of reasoning, since the pilot is now no longer suspended -- so where's the personnel issue?
In a video statement response from Southwest Airlines, the Vice President Flight Operations Captain Chuck Magill said he was "deeply sadden[ed]" by the pilot's "inexcusable language". Don't get your hopes up -- the airline's video doesn't mean it's actually doing anything about its disgusting employee behavior. FYI, Chuck: "inexcusable" means not excusable -- as in reason to be fired. And if you're really that "saddened" you'd be showing the pilot the door.
It's nice to know the Southwest pilot has "formally apologized" to FAA controllers. Now it would be nice to know where that formal apology to the general public, paying Southwest customers, the gay community, and women is. Chuck also apologized on behalf of the pilot. Of course that's less than acceptable: If a pilot can be back, employed, he can have the guts to face the people he insulted or degraded.
Sky West seems to put it best: After alerting air traffic control "that was not us!", the Sky West pilot is succinct: "and they wonder why airline pilots have a bad reputation."
A lesson for Southwest Airlines: If you wonder why you have a bad reputation, it's who you choose to associate with.
A lesson for passengers and paying customers: You have a choice in who you choose to associate with.
Tell Southwest Airlines how you feel about discrimination and its decision to employ any employee or pilot who expresses hate in any form: post a wack or comment now.


Southwest Airlines Corporate
2702 Love Field Drive
Dallas, TX 75235
United States
Phone: (214) 792-5534‎
32° 50' 41.0388" N, 96° 51' 54.378" W
| Share
Average: 5 (1 vote)