Passenger’s Negative Tweet On Southwest Service Almost Gets Him Booted From Flight

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News Posted: Fri, Jul 25 2014 11:15 AM
A man named Duff Watson nearly got himself and his two young sons (ages 6 and 9) thrown off of a Southwest Airlines flight out of Denver over an angry Tweet. He was upset that the gate agent wouldn’t let his kids board early with him even though he had priority status and posted on Twitter, “RUDEST AGENT IN DENVER. KIMBERLY S. GATE C39. NOT HAPPY @SWA” according to Reuters.

The crew then pulled him off of the plane and made him delete the post before letting him back on, even threatening to call the police unless he complied. He relented, deleted the Tweet, and flew on to Minneapolis.

Obviously, there are pieces of the story missing here. For example, how would Kimberly S. have known about the Tweet? Watson probably told her he was going to do it, and probably not in a kind way--and of course, she or one of her coworkers must have taken time to look up his Twitter account and see it, which strikes me as a breach of protocol. One wonders what other words were exchanged during the incident.

Southwest Airlines

Still, forcing a passenger to take down a mean Tweet “or else” is completely unacceptable. If he’s belligerent enough to be removed from the flight, fine, put him in airport jail (or whatever happens to you when you get in trouble at an airport), but forcing him to remove a comment he made on social media is not within the bounds of anyone’s authority.

Watson, though, probably should have known better. If there’s one place you can’t do much to demand better service or throw a fit to get what you want, it’s the airport. For one thing, airports are touchy about volatile people and air travel, and for another, they just really don’t care much that you missed your connection, had to wait too long to board, had to spend the night sleeping on the floor in the terminal, or whatever other injustice you’ve suffered.

It’s not that they’re heartless people, it’s just that the above is the kind of stuff that happens all the time, and there’s little anyone within shouting distance can do about it.

Ironically, barely a few people would have seen the angry Tweet (even now, he only has 412 followers) had the gate attendant not demanded that he delete his post, but now millions have read that Kimberly S. of Denver is (allegedly) a total jerk, she’s presumably had an uncomfortable meeting with her manager, and Southwest Airlines’ name has been dragged through the mud.
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Drachen replied on Fri, Jul 25 2014 1:49 PM

This is ridiculous. We're not allowed freedom of speech anymore apparently. Why are we permitting a CORPORATION to act like the law enforcement? I would have refused to delete the tweet and remove myself from the flight.

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Adam Todd replied on Fri, Jul 25 2014 2:38 PM

I agree, I guess the 1st Amendment declares the right to free speech. Now, if you look on the back of the Constitution there appears to be an exception to people who use twitter. Guess I didn't see that asterisk in the actual amendment on the front. Twitter has recently been the cause for all kinds of scrutiny that leads to losing jobs, getting fines, and some even going to jail. If Twitter were to shut down, would it be better for the world, specifically USA?

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lipe123 replied on Fri, Jul 25 2014 3:31 PM

I don't think most people understand what free speech means.

You cannot just slander someones name on the Internet(or anywhere) without just cause. If you are going to point fingers then you need facts to back it up.

There is no reason for the airline to refuse him early boarding if he paid for early boarding passes. "kids" 6-9 are not kids and they also require priority tickets.

Ultimately what the flying **** does it matter who gets on first (other that disabled people etc. with legitimate movement problems) the plane wont leave until everyone is onboard.

A healthy man with two sons whining like a little girl because he wasn't able to get on before the rest of the passengers just screams of immature belligerent a-hole.

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Thomas T. replied on Fri, Jul 25 2014 3:50 PM

Yeah, freedom of speech. He should be allowed to tweet what he wants. He's probably kind of an asshole and whining about stupid problems, but she should still be able to speak his mind. 

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nfs3freak replied on Fri, Jul 25 2014 3:50 PM

Hmm. I think it's dumb they asked him to delete the tweet. Also, there are PR people for doesn't take long for someone to see the tweet and take action quit to squelch the negative feedback, especially when it states the company and the individual's full name and location.


However, the guy was being a big a-hole. If he had just waited with his kids since his kids were in a different priority, all of this would be avoided.

Most people would wait with the later people in line if they are family and people tend to be nice enough to move out of a seat if someone needs all three for family.


Both sides are at fault here and it's really bad all around.

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@lipe123 I don't think wanting what you paid for makes you immature and belligerent. The concept of it is stupid yes but when you think about it if he paid extra for this priority status or whatever then he has a right to complain why pay for something but not get what you want.

Anywho i don't like southwest. Extremely annoying commercials. I must admit i always laugh when i hear stories like this.

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wow, don't fly southwest i guess.

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AllenJun replied on Sat, Jul 26 2014 1:54 AM

They forced him to delete the tweet? What a effing c**t! You can't make someone miss their flight just because they said something you didn't like.

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NTria replied on Sat, Jul 26 2014 8:16 AM

Ahh, the good old Streisand Effect.

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FredBurke replied on Sat, Jul 26 2014 10:21 AM

Attendant deserved it. Seriously though.... they're freaking kids AND he had high status. Wth was her problem? I would have put it back online, right as the plane started to take off lol.

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Normally rude behavior by a passenger should not be rewarded but who made SW Airlines the Tweet Police? Sharing this one with my friends around the world.

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