Southwest Airlines reportedly removed a passenger from a flight at Sacramento International Airport in California last week for making a joke about vodka, of all things.
What are the details?
The flight was headed to Austin, Texas, by way of Los Angeles, and had already been delayed for several hours due to varying conditions such as a maintenance light and a refueling stop when a flight attendant began passing out cups of water to passengers.
Passenger Peter Uzelac told KTXL-TV that one of his fellow passengers made a joke about passing out vodka instead of water to help cope with the long wait time.
“[The passenger] said something [like], ‘They should be passing out vodka because we’ve been waiting so long,'” Uzelac recalled.
Uzelac said that a flight attendant overheard the unnamed man’s remarks and marched over to chastise him.
“She came by and was like, ‘I don’t think that and I didn’t like your joke,'” Uzelac said. “Then my wife tried to butt in there and say, ‘Look it, we’ve been on this plane for hours.’ And [the flight attendant] says, ‘Well so have I, so get used to it. Then, all of a sudden, I see her on the telephone up front.”
After refueling, the plane turned back to the gate and several local sheriff’s deputies boarded the plane to escort the unnamed passenger off the flight.
Uzelac said that people were angry and defended the man.
“People started yelling then,” Uzelac recalled. “In fact, people stood up. I stood up. People were saying ‘This man didn’t do anything.'”
KTXL reported that the unidentified passenger was not charged with any crimes.
Uzelac filed a complaint with the airline over its treatment of the passenger.
“If they have this in their records, you know, maybe it will prevent this from happening again,” he said.
“I have been flying for decades and I’ve never ever seen anything like this,” Uzelac added.
What did the airline say about this?
Southwest issued the following statement in response to the alleged incident:
We regret any less-than-positive experience a customer has onboard our aircraft. We welcome over 100 million customers each year, and we aim to maintain the comfort of all while delivering Southwest hospitality. We will share this report with our Customer Relations Team.