Southwest Airlines Passenger Claims He Was Kicked Off Flight After Tweeting Complaint About "Rude" Gate Agent
Things sure went south with this experience! A Minneapolis man said he and his family were kicked off of their Southwest Airlines flight after he tweeted about a "rude" gate agent on Sunday, July 20.
Duff Watson, an A-list member of the airline, and his two young daughters, ages 9 and 6, were traveling from Denver to Minneapolis when the agent allegedly refused to give the girls priority boarding with their dad. "I have been traveling with Southwest for a few years now, and I’m an A-list member," Watson told ABC News on Wednesday, July 23. "You can board the plane early."
"I am not trying to game the system," he said. "I'm not going to leave my kids alone to board. That doesn't make sense." (There was no other adult with the family at the time.)
The gate agent told Watson that his children were not allowed to board with him, which prompted him to ask whether this was a new company policy. "I am not going to change my mind," she reportedly responded.
"We waited, which was fine," Watson told ABC. "I thought she was very rude and wanted to complain to customer service, so I asked her: 'Can I get your last name?'"
He said the agent replied, "You don’t need my last name for anything."
The correspondence prompted Watson to tweet about his experience: "@SouthwestAir and then I get to the gate!!! C39!!! Rudest staff? Kimberly S," his Twitter update read, according to Yahoo! News. Watson boarded the plane with his daughters, only to be asked moments later to disembark. At the gate, they were received by the offending agent.
"She said I was a safety threat," Watson told ABC, adding that the agent had asked him to delete the tweet or else she would call the police. "I was shocked," the father said. "There was no use of profanity, there were no threats made. How was I a safety threat… I was taken aback by the situation. My two kids were crying. She watched me as I deleted the tweet."
Eventually, the family got back on the flight. "We walked through the same passengers the third time... The point is not the order of boarding. The point is how she responded."
Southwest, aware of the situation, apologized in an email to Watson and said the incident is "currently under review." Watson told ABC News that the airline offered his family $50 vouchers, but he said he will never fly Southwest again.