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Flight Attendant Crew Kicks Southwest Airlines Passenger Off Plane for Crying

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by copythat

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In The News

Don't suffer a personal or family tragedy that leaves you grieving. It just might get you get kicked off Southwest Airlines. Two sisters whose destination was their father's house, after their dad suffered a heart attack, claim they were booted from a Southwest flight in late July--after one of the women began crying. A flight attendant reportedly told one of the women she'd had enough wine, despite the fact she'd been served none.
A homophobic rant about gays or fat women wasn't enough for Southwest's public image. It seems Southwest simply doesn't want to stay out of the news. The only way the airline could top recent issues is by next booting a child traveling alone off one of its planes.
Ricci Wheatley and Robin Opperman were slated to depart from Oakland, California, and bound for Dallas on a Southwest Airlines flight when one of the two got anxiety over flying. A fear of flying isn't exactly rare in itself. And the combination of emotions plus anxiety tends to happen with people after near-death experiences of loved ones. Ricci Wheatley says: "I broke down and started to cry and I'm a little bit afraid to fly, so I said to the stewardess as she was passing, 'When you're going to be serving, I'll have a glass of wine." Or that's what Wheatley may have thought she'd requested. The Southwest crew member apparently had another idea.
The scenario mimics scene after scene in the growing problem of flight attendants and perceived power -- coupled with a growing number of wrong assumptions or ridiculous actions by crew members. The Southwest flight attendant allegedly told the crying passenger she'd already had 'enough' to drink. The passenger hadn't had any wine, on a plane that hadn't even departed yet.
Wheatley's fellow flight mate says the passenger was crying softly -- so not to disturb other Southwest passengers.
After that apparently lack of understanding between the woman and Southwest flight attendant, both sisters say they were physically removed from the Dallas-bound flight. Not that a lot of commentary is expected from Southwest considering the company's regular track record -- even during major airline issues like Southwest pilot James Taylor and his March 2011 open mic rant -- but the airline's comments are few and far between.
'Apple' James Taylor doesn't seem to fall far from the Southwest Airlines 'tree': The pilot has openly expressed his hatred for gays and women, while the airline while the airline allowed crew members to yank a Muslim woman over what seem to be insinuations of terrorism -- and now has allowed crew to kick off a woman over crying.
Southwest Airlines and its apparently powerful crew, that seems to be marking the demise of any customer service with the company, has recently been responsible for fun issues like booting a Muslim woman off a Southwest flight in San Diego, California, after overhearing the passenger say goodbye to a relative, on a cell phone, before flight departure in March 2011. the eavesdropping flight attendant apparently reporting the woman said "It's a go" rather than "I've got to go". It seems one flight attendant's been watching far too many reports on terrorists. The scenario left the Muslim woman, who has lived in the United States for more than a decade, in tears after the pilot or crew refused to allow the woman back on the flight from which she'd been removed -- despite additional TSA security clearance of the Muslim woman. Reportedly that Southwest crew just wasn't 'comfortable' with the idea of her flying on its plane.
Just weeks ago, Southwest appeared in news headlines again, for ordering up an FBI visit that resulted in arrest of a domestic passenger and his electronic cigarette. The serious issue seemed less over the e-cigarette than the Southwest flight attendant who decided to bring the man paperwork or a written policy. It seems the battle of egos and smoking withdrawals didn't mix -- as the passenger was accused of chucking some peanuts and pretzels at the crew member, which turned into a prosecution that could reportedly land the passenger up to 20 years jail time.
Supposedly Southwest paid for a hotel room and meal for the crying woman who got kicked off its plane -- before re-booking the pair on another flight to Dallas. But of course a free night's stay isn't exactly a 'bonus' for people trying to reach a sick relative.
When Southwest Airlines spokesperson Chris Mainz addressed the crying incident, he described it as a “verbal altercation with the flight attendant.” Nice, Southwest. Next up: 'assault' charges over 'verbal' altercations.
It all brings one of the biggest problems to the forefront -- an increasing problem with power plays between crew members and passengers.
Times have been tough between passengers and airlines' flight attendants or crews lately. In June 2011, a US Airways pilot acted as the arresting party of a San Francisco passenger -- a young college football player who was returning from his best friend's funeral service -- supposedly over sagging pants. It was U.S. Airways crew members or flight attendants who made the call of a 'sagging' pants violation by passenger Dushon Marman, who wasn't exactly accused of showing skin and certainly not of being obscene. Other passengers on the California U.S. Airways flight weren't complaining about Marman or any pants issue for the man who claims he was only trying to carry his luggage to board the flight. Yes, he was wearing underwear. No, there wasn't a 'crack' issue occurring. But apparently at least one U.S. Ariways crew member felt the man wasn't following orders fast enough, so the airline allowed the pilot to act as the 'citizen's arrest' factor that put a grieving young man into a California jail overnight.


Oakland, CA
United States
37° 48' 15.7104" N, 122° 16' 16.0104" W
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