Thursday, 31 May 2018

Passenger problems at Southwest

It has been an eventful week for Southwest, the leading low-cost airline in the US, its management must be worrying when the next problem or potential pr disaster might spring from.  The most recent spate of incidents starts with when one of its aircraft was forced to divert from its San Francisco to Los Angeles and perform an emergency landing at Mineta San Jose International Airport on 24th due to a “mechanical difficulty,” 

The 'mechanical difficulty' turned out to be that the smoke detector and fire alarm had gone off from one of the aircraft's toilets after a passenger had sparked up a smoke in there. Edmund Lo, a fellow passenger on Southwest Flight 1250 from San Francisco told local media that a man in a wheelchair boarded the flight before getting up and walking to the restroom when it reached cruising altitude. He also claimed that he could smell marijuana on the man as he made his way back to his seat and the flight was diverted and landed safely at Mineta San Jose International Airport shortly after 4 pm local time.

“The flight landed without incident where it was met by local law enforcement, and the customer in question was turned over to local authorities,” a Southwest spokesperson said in a statement.

But there is more,   read on to find out about a mother having to prove her biracial son was hers and a lady sitting next to a masturbating man. 

Then on the 29th May, a female Southwest passenger on a flight from Las Vegas to Philadelphia purchased in-flight WiFi to Tweet Southwest customer service because the man sitting next to her was watching porn and masturbating. 
The PR CEO said the man took out his iPad and started openly watching pornography, without headphones and masturbated for almost the entire five-hour flight. On the social network, she wrote "I've spent this entire flight sitting next to a guy who has his iPad open on the tray table, watching porn, without using headphones or anything, and twice now his body has started shaking in the throes of his orgasmic bliss."

Through a series of tweets, she asserted that she didn't feel 'safe' leaving her seat to report the highly inappropriate behaviour to a member of the cabin crew, as she was in the middle seat, and someone was asleep next to her and the man watching the porn was on the other side, by the window. 

“He watched video after video like it was nothing." the woman said to the gossip site TMZ, "The first time he was ‘finishing,’ he used his left hand and gripped my right forearm, pinning it down to the arm rest between us." Adding,  “It made it clear to me how strong he was, given how forceful his grip was, which is why I felt uncomfortable and reached out to SW (Southwest) on Twitter — hoping they’d ask my seat number and notify someone — because I didn’t know if he’d try to physically do anything else if I went to take a photograph or video, nor did I want to find out."

In her tweets, the boss of a PR company claimed the man didn't even try to hide his actions or his genitalia. As she felt unable to report the incident to the cabin crew, a Southwest customer service agent manning the twitter feed, then suggested if the lady felt more comfortable, she might want to wait on the aircraft after arrival and report it to the cabin crew so they could help. Ms Shariat of Shariat PR, didn't seem to like that suggestion either, tweeting "Fine. I stay aboard until everyone else has got off the flight, continuing the torture, because that's exactly someone who is being assaulted like this wants to do."

In a statement, Southwest said "Our internal reports indicate that the flight crew did not witness this incident during the flight – and it was not until the plane landed that they were made aware of the situation.

"Our flight crew then apologised to Ms Shariat and assured her that they were not previously aware of the situation. This type of behaviour on a flight would never be tolerated by any of our employees, and again, we are following up with Ms Shariat to address her concerns and offer our apologies."

If that wasn't bad enough to depress Southwest's senior management, the story of a mother being asked to prove she was the mother of her mixed race baby by employees should cause palpitations of worry.

Lindsay Gottlieb was travelling from Denver with her one-year-old son when she was questioned about her relationship to the child and allegedly asked to dig up past Facebook posts to prove he was hers. She said “I’m appalled that after approx 50 times flying with my 1 year old son, ticket counter personnel told me I had to “prove” that he was my son, despite having his passport. She said because we have different last names. My guess is because he has a different skin color,” she wrote.

Ms Gottlieb said she was travelling with her partner and the Southwest staff member had the child's passport that proved her son’s age and was still asked to provide additional proof the child was hers.

Another statement from a Southwest spokesperson "We have reached out to Ms. Gottlieb directly to address her concerns and will utilize the situation as a ‘coaching opportunity’ for our employee,” 

“We apologize if our interaction made this family uncomfortable—that is never our intention.”