Southwest's Flight Attendants Are Furious Over Pilot's Comments and Carrier's Response

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Perhaps you've heard: Back on March 25, a still-unidentified Southwest Airlines pilot was somewhere over the great state of Texas when he decided to use his open mike to review the Love Field-based carrier's flight attendants. Said the fellow, all he could find on his route were "11 fucking over-the top fucking ass-fucking homosexuals and a granny." Whoops. The recording, which goes on and on and on, was made public yesterday by a Houston TV station. Southwest has since disciplined the pilot and issued an apology, in which Southwest Airlines veep of flight operations Chuck Magill brands the chitchat "offensive" and "inconsistent" with the airline's expectations of its employees.

That's not good enough for Southwest's flight attendants: A statement from Thom McDaniel, president of TWU Local 556, which reps the carriers flight attendants, just landed in the Unfair Park in-box. In it, the union suggests that this isn't over, not by a long shot. They want the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate; they want the feds involved. "Bigotry in the workplace is bad business and unacceptable behavior on the ground and at 30,000 feet," says the release.

But the release, which follows, condemns Southwest for "calling this broadcast a 'private conversation.'" Magill, however, never uses that phrase in his video statement. The FAA does, sort of, in its statement, referring to the broadcast as a "personal conversation."
Statement by Thom McDaniel Pres. of TWU Local 556 Representing Southwest Flight Attendants on Incident of Insults and Slurs Broadcast over ATC Frequencies Demeaning Flight Attendants

Flight attendants at Southwest Airlines are deeply disappointed and angered by the insensitive, and unprofessional comments demeaning flight attendants that were broadcast by a Southwest pilot over frequencies used by the FAA for air traffic control on March 25, 2011, revealed just yesterday.

Southwest's flight attendants are highly respected by our customers for their skill, professionalism and customer service and expect that same respect from co-workers. We do important work and should not be demeaned by pilots, managers or anyone.

We also are dismayed by the response from Southwest Airlines' management.

The official response from Southwest's spokespeople and leaders has only added 'insult to injury.' Calling this broadcast a 'private conversation' cannot dismiss this incident. There is no place in our workplace for any conversation that demeans, insults and discriminates against other employees.

Our Union is rooted in fighting for the rights and protections of working people, including forging the battles to end the prohibition of married women, pregnant women and men from serving as flight attendants and we will not go backward by accepting the behavior and speech of this pilot or any other employee. We are calling on Southwest Airlines to address this problem throughout our company, not as an isolated incident, but as a mandate that our workplace will be free from discrimination of all forms as a condition of continued employment.

We have instructed our attorneys today to investigate the possibility of filing an EEOC charge with the federal government. We hope not to have to go that route, and instead, we are counting on Southwest Airlines to remedy this injustice. Bigotry in the workplace is bad business and unacceptable behavior on the ground and at 30,000 feet.

TWU Local 556 represents 9,400 flight attendants at Southwest Airlines. The union is affiliated with the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU)/AFL-CIO.

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34 comments
Rayehl
Rayehl

This is stupid. The guy made a mistake, who cares? They are being too hard on the pilot.

SFO Park and Fly
SFO Park and Fly

What about all that luggage? You're off to a vacation for a week and your spouse has packed everything but the kitchen sink for your stay. Parking and worrying about getting to and from your car with all that luggage can put a damper on your travel and ruin the very reason for a vacation getaway.  

Hammer
Hammer

While what Southwest has done since the incident leaves a LOT to be desired...at least they have made several public statements and taken some action to acknowledge that this idiot has gone over the line.  I say this because......on a recent flight from SFO to DFW on the new Virgin America, in all it's glory, and heard two of the worst things I've ever heard come out of a flight attendants mouth, and DURING the boarding process.  A) we were welcomed aboard a flight to the land of "steers and queers" as we stepped onto the plane at SFO, and B) overheard two flight attendants say that Virgin would soon make a big presence at DFW because the "fags and hags at AA would all be dead soon anyway".   I emailed Virgin America and NEVER received so much as an acknowledgement. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

And this is why Pilots dont want their companies to have access to the cockpit voice recorders.  They say and do stupid shit all the time, this moron just finally figured out a way to broadcast it to the world.  The reason you have olds/fats working the aisles still is the government made it against the law to have wieght and age restrictions on FA's, oh and the fact that, yes, FA's took the job as a career, not as a sex fling in their 20's

MCA
MCA

Four and three and two and one And when I'm on the mic - the suckers run 

space2k
space2k

Every mic is an open mic, people.

FlightSchool88
FlightSchool88

So the pilot was just chilling and thought, "Hey, it's open mic night. I'm gonna do some sit-down comedy?" lol. Wish I could have heart him. He is my hero.

Ashleyrs
Ashleyrs

Now maybe some of those flight attendants will take a double look in the mirror before reporting to work.  I've flown on Southwest when I was a flight attendant going back and forth to work, and I have to say this, some FA should tidy themselves up a bit.  I know they get to dress down with the shorts and etc, but some OMG!  With any job you will find some employees that need to be reminded, but I think in this profession you should always try your best to look polished.  Also, those gloves are disgusting.  Keep in mind for those who are a bit large, I don't like sitting in the isle have my arm, shoulder etc knocked off every time you walk down the isle.

bkharmony
bkharmony

If I said this crap at my job, I'd be gone that day. Why should this jerk be any different? You can think whatever you want, but you simply aren't allowed to verbalize every stupid/disgusting thought that pops into your head. If an employee is too stupid to understand that, they need to be gone.

drunicus
drunicus

Is heterosexuality disgusting? I realize it's not trendy....

Matthew
Matthew

1) It's not a private conversation when it's broadcast where everyone can hear it.  It might not have been meant for ears outside of the cockpit but the pilot should have made sure his mic was off if he didn't want people to hear it.

2) If he is that unsatisified with his job there are plent of other Americans out there that need a job.  If he doesn't want to work with "homos" and "grannys" then he picked the wrong career field. 

drunicus
drunicus

Oh, c'mon. Who wouldn't want to work with homosexual & grannies? They're awesome. Especially for the guys who fly your planes, drive your trucks, crunch your numbers, design your computers, build your homes & offices, fix your cars ....

Deep-Sigh
Deep-Sigh

so anyone listening on the ATC app on their ipad or iphone heard this?? nice.  the guys in the tower at hobby tried to tell him to STFU but he had no clue.  Sounds to me that this patriot and bastian of yankee doodle dandy needed some fine, honey dew and all he was seeing in the company were totally unavailable choices. Who hasn't in their workplace, reemed the tail choices  or lack thereof at the office?!?!?  Just remember to do a mic check.  Listen he did his diversity training, did mic training, he's good to go and remember....an EEOC complaint goes better if you actually got to see said peen.  The pilot just wants to get laid...surely someone here can help him to meet his on time measurments on SWA???!!

scallywag
scallywag

This is a private conversation made public– the kind that makes us wonder how much discrimination lives on in subtle ways in our hyper-P.C. climate.  If I was a Southwest flight attendant, I might be surprised to hear what was coming out of my pilot’s mouth, but that doesn’t mean I should listen.

To repeat one of my favorite RuPaul-ism, what other people think about us is none of our business.

http://scallywagandvagabond.co...

Americano
Americano

Does he get any points for accuracy?

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

Again,,,,replace faggots with a derogatory name for Jews or Blacks and let me know where this pilot would be today.  Bigjondaniel is right......which is the big problem as nothing never really gets resolved.  I don't think it ever will ....not for a few generations. 

Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy!

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

me too big john......should we consider marriage or just go steady?

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

bigjohndaniel.  that is the nicest refusal i have ever had.  my spousal unit of 20 years would probably get in the way too.   for me, if there is another step into marriage, i am not sure i want to go there. 

thanks for considering though.  i will cancel the cake and flowers.

Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

I'm never getting married again. Wife 2.0 is great. Plus I don't want to make your aorta explode

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

See the lovely ladies in the photo? That was 1972.   They are still walking the aisle on the Love to Hobby flights ...

Guest
Guest

If we support pilots' rights to kick off people in baggy pants or burkas, shouldn't be also support their desire for fine-ass flight attendants?

JC88
JC88

I think "fine-ass flight attendants" should be mandatory.

Old school SWA passenger
Old school SWA passenger

Yea!!! I can remember the time when Southwest really had fine-ass stews and it cost $25 to fly all over Texas. Now its just bags fly free.  Lets go back to old school Southwest and the hot look hostesses. I never thought much of  male flight attendants, straight or otherwise. But I am not a queer passenger.

barnrat
barnrat

I too remember the hot flight attendants from the 1970's. I married one just before they won their lawsuit and no longer had height/weight restrictions. She started putting on weight and that messed up our marriage. About the same time they started hiring rump rangers and I lost interest in flying Dallas to Houston. I would rather drive than have an HIV candidate serve me lunch.

Atmos
Atmos

Sure about that "Old school SWA passenger"? Because, that whole comment was pretty gay.

Willile
Willile

The recording is priceless!  But I have to call the pilot out for his generalizations about those light in the loafer flight attendants....I know a former commercial pilot who wudda loved to have them serving his flights, so to speak! 

Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

You can change the laws, but you can't change people's hearts.

Rayehl
Rayehl

Nice. I love you (tot in a male flight attendant sort of way though)

George Orwell
George Orwell

Who cares if their hearts change? Charging people with thought crimes and forcing them to go on humiliating public apology tours is what's important.

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