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Man asked to leave Southwest flight over his tweet

  |   News

When I saw this headline I thought… ok what REALLY happened. But as it turns out, I side with the victim here.  Apparently this guy whose last name is Watson has some sort of priority boarding pass but his two children didn’t which resulted in him not being able to be a priority.  After some sort of disagreement, he boards the plane and vents his frustration on twitter.  How they were able to find his exact twitter account and tweet in that time frame is beyond me but they did and Watson says the agent felt threatened and that his family could not return to the plane until he deleted his tweet.

The world we live in is seemingly full of people whom are easily offended and it appears as though the gate agent’s only method of recourse was to simply create a panic by claiming they were threatened by the tweet.  My brother is a pilot for a major airline and I know just how little power both gate agents and flight attendants carry so maybe this was a power struggle, not sure.  I’d love to have seen the entire thing play out.  However, if it really did play out like this, I have to say I feel sorry for Southwest.  When your staff views customer complaints as threats, this tells me that there is a company-wide problem, not an isolated incident.  Now I’m not discounting how rediculous the general public can get at airports and maybe the hysteria and paranoia is further fueled by the very people who “protect” it and service it along with the lost baggage, rudeness that follows that experience, but seriously…. you felt threatened over a tweet.  Let’s be clear: I’m not excusing bad behavior and if they couldn’t offer the rest of his family seats due to limitations, how about throw in a free alcoholic drink for him or something.   He won’t get what he originally wants, but more imporatantly, he’ll feel that he was cared for.

Now, before you start thinking that this tweet was in fact a real threat.  Here’s the truth about that tweet.  Watson says: “In leaving I said, you know, ‘Real nice way to treat an A-list. I’ll be sure to tweet about it,'”

Moments later, that’s exactly what Watson did. “Something to the effect of, ‘Wow, rudest agent in Denver. Kimberly S, gate C39, not happy @SWA,'” he said.

So you have a company whose employees see a dissatisfied customer complaint and their knee-jerk reaction is to cause panic by saying they were threatened.  This should be a lesson for all companies.  Let’s take a step back and really appreciate the people who pay us to do our jobs as they DO have choices and listen to the customer and try to understand their point of view.  Sounds like Southwest could use this experience for some remedial training.