Southwest pilot goes off on rant… with the mic keyed

A Southwest pilot frustrated about the number of gay, overweight, and old flight attendants at Southwest decided to share his “experiences” with his fellow pilot, though as it turned out the mic was keyed and he was actually transmitting what he was saying to the whole frequency. Here’s a video that includes some of the stuff he says (and the response from another pilot):

He was suspended without pay and had to undergo diversity training, though is now back on the job. Your thoughts? Was the punishment fair?

Whether we like it or not, pilots probably often have these types (by that I mean negative conversations you wouldn’t want to know about) of conversations, be it about flight attendants, passengers, or how bad the company is. Obviously it’s not professional, but it happens and it’s not preventable. That being said, when someone is so dumb as to go off on a two minute tirade and have the whole thing available on public airwaves, they kind of have it coming for them, in my opinion…

Filed Under: Southwest
  1. So you think the issue is that he was being ‘unprofessional’ by accidentally saying this on the air?

    What if he were ranting about the large number of black (pardon me, he probably would’ve said ‘fu**ing *ss n***ers’) flight attendants at his company?

  2. Haha, what a douchebag. He definitely made his own bed and now he has to lay in it (or had to, given the hours of discipline he got). In a weird way, this puts a more genuine (if darker) human face on WN than we’re used to seeing in its folksy, family-like corporate image. Maybe it’s because management and morale are generally good that incidents exposing this kind of employee attitude seem to be rare.

    I wonder if anyone listening to C9 on UA got to hear this transpire in real time.

  3. If I were WN, I would have fired him, simply because his actions go against the whole brand image that Southwest has built; that their employees have good morale, etc., and this guy is complaining that he can’t get laid…

    I agree that these types of convos probably go on more than people realize, but this guy just takes it to a whole new level of stupid to broadcast over ATC airwaves ..

    The only thing that could have been worse is if he keyed the cabin mic as well.

  4. Can’t really blame him though.

    Look at the difference between American FAs and Asian FAs.

    Because of labor unions, American FAs are lazy, fat, bitchy, unfeminine and old.

    America is truly becoming the laughingstock of the world.

  5. It is funny that we live in such a politically correct world that this is seen as bloody murder, but really this is just everyday guy talk. Yeah he was stupid for doing it on the job.

  6. The language and attitude is upsetting to me, but had he been ranting about his own family, it wouldn’t worry me.

    However, in a crisis the captain and crew have to work together, quickly, and with mutual trust. Clearly, that’s missing in at least one, if not both directions.

    The attitude he displayed isn’t correctable with sensitivity training (that will just teach him to keep his opinions to himself). This needs to be fixed by forcing him to find a new job in a different industry. His presence in the cockpit puts passengers at risk and that is unacceptable.

  7. Hold up your hand if this story reminded you of a certain Far Side cartoon (“The fuel light’s on, Frank! We’re all going to die! Wait, wait… Oh, my mistake – that’s the intercom light.”)

  8. While I will not defend in any way what he said, what should concern readers most is his skill as a pilot in pre-flight planning and in the air. One bad apple shouldn’t spoil the reputations of the others.

  9. @Steve LOL, he didn’t put anyone at risk. If those thoughts he had put people at risk, there would be virtually no pilots.

    It’s just words and one guy’s opinion and had nothing to do with his skill and ability to fly a plane. It’s not a big deal at all.

  10. You can think what you want. If you publicly broadcast it, that’s a “for cause” event in my mind – even if inadvertent.

    In finance, if you were to have such a recitation over the hoot (the traders broadcast system on a trading floor), you might have time to pick up your coat on the way to the door…but that’s it. 1985, it would have been a different story – but that’s the way it is today.

  11. On some planes it’s real easy to get the mic stuck. I still remember a Cessna 172 rental pilot out in the practice area saying “if I turn any tighter the wings will bend” to his buddy, while still transmitting on the tower’s frequency. He wasn’t allowed to rent planes at our airport after that. (and the plane got checked of course)

  12. @canuck_in_ca

    Based on my experience, you would stall the aircraft before damaging it no matter how tight the turn! Nice story though —–

  13. True, under maneuvering speed (Vmo) you can’t really overstress an aircraft. Turns out there’s an exception, as evidenced by AA 587.

  14. Who cares. What’s worse – that the guy said it, or that CNN is telling us that he said it?

  15. I think it is a big deal and he should be terminated. No older/female/gay flight attendant or co-pilot is going to be able to effectively work with him after this.

    He clearly has no regard for his co-workers, and now they won’t have any regard or trust in him. Any flight of his is not one I would feel particularly safe on as there is unlikely to be any cohesion among the captain and crew.

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