Passenger accuses Southwest Airlines of racist treatment

A sad, but not unsurprising story from a traveler.

Just then, the Captain comes out. I’m elated. Yes! I don’t like feeling like I have to run tell anybody anything, but I also don’t want to get thrown into jail for stomping this dude into the luggage area below the plane. So I’m happy to see an objective person. But unfortunately, that’s not how it went down.

He comes out and looks at only me. “Is there a problem?”

I wanted to tell the whole story, but I really just wanted to get to New York. So I responded, “Well, this lady right here told me that she doesn’t want me sitting here for whatever reason and her husband tells me to shut my mo-…”

The Captain interrupts me. “Well, I only hear you.”

I tell him, “I understand—I have a loud voice, that’s why I’m telling you what happened. Ask any of the folks sitting here…” I pointed around to the people staring at us. He didn’t ask anybody anything. Instead, his focus was squarely on me.

CAPTAIN: “You need to lower your voice. Do you want to take the next flight?” Admittedly, I DO have a loud voice and I WAS agitated by this time. I think that was understandable.

ME: “No, I don’t want to—I’m telling you what happened.”

CAPTAIN: “Well I only hear you out here hollering.”

ME: “Well, I suggest that you have selective hearing.”

CAPTAIN: Staring me down. “Oh now you want to get in MY face?” I was a bit confused because that implied that I had gotten in someone else’s “face” already. Maybe he meant that I got in the husband’s face that told me that I need to shut my mouth? I wasn’t sure how that worked, but I started to answer his question. He cut me off and answered for me, “I suggest you quiet down before you take the next flight.”

After complaining about it after the flight, he claims to have received this bizarre and rather telling response from Southwest:

We realize that sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it, and we apologize that you feel as if our Pilot could have used a more patient and professional tone when intervening in the exchange between you and the Customers in question.