'How rude': Outrage after family kicked off plane in viral video
Published Friday, March 16, 2018 10:15AM EDT
Passengers and social media users alike are expressing outrage after a family was escorted off a plane in a heated encounter captured on video that has since gone viral.
Alexis Armstrong filmed the moment when flight attendants and security personnel aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1683 to Atlanta asked a man and his two-year-old daughter to exit the plane before takeoff at Chicago Midway International Airport on Wednesday afternoon.
The 24-year-old woman from Joliet, Ill. was sitting across the aisle and a row behind the man and his daughter on the plane before they were removed. She described what she witnessed before she started recording on her cellphone to local TV station WGN9.
“One or two flight attendants had stopped by and the daughter, I’m assuming maybe it was her first time flying, she did not want to sit in her own seat so she was on her dad’s lap and he was trying to hold her and console her. She was crying. She was nervous,” Armstrong recalled.
The flight attendants told the man that he needed to calm his daughter or he would be escorted off the plane with her, according to Armstrong.
“He [the father] said, ‘Listen, I just need a minute. Can you give me a minute? You’re all up in my face. I’m trying to calm her down,’” she said.
At that point, Armstrong said the little girl had quieted down and it seemed like they were preparing to takeoff. She said they waited on the tarmac for a couple of minutes, during which the toddler was sitting quietly in her own seat, before the captain came on over the intercom.
“[He] said, ‘We’re going to go back to the gate. We have a customer service issue to address,’” Armstrong said.
The plane taxied back to the gate and a security guard boarded the plane to escort the man and his daughter off the plane. Armstrong filmed the conversation between the father and the flight attendant as he was gathering up his belongings to leave.
“There’s no more discussion. We’re back at the gate. You knew that was going to be the option,” a flight attendant is heard telling the father in the video.
The voices of a few other passengers, including Armstrong’s, can also be heard defending the father during the clip.
“He asked for a minute,” one passenger is heard telling the flight attendant.
“She’s a child. She was scared. He was trying to calm her down,” Armstrong adds.
“This is not helpful guys. You want to go to Atlanta or…? The decision has been made,” the flight attendant tells the passengers.
The man and his daughter then exit the plane with the security guard.
The two-minute video has been viewed more than 500,000 times since Armstrong uploaded the video on Facebook on Wednesday.
Southwest Airlines issued a written statement on Thursday in response to the outcry.
“Our initial reports indicate a conversation escalated on board between the crew and a customer traveling with a small child. We always aim for a welcoming and hospitable experience and regret the inconvenience to all involved,” the statement read. “The traveling party was booked on the next flight to Atlanta after the original flight continued as planned. We will reach out to the customer[s] to listen to any concerns they have about their experience and look forward to welcoming them on board again soon.”
As the mother of a four-year-old son herself, Armstrong said she’s worried about flying with the airline in the future after what she witnessed.
“How do you know your kid isn’t going to be afraid and you’re going to get kicked off your flight? How rude,” Armstrong said. “It’s natural. It’s a child. It’s going to happen.”
#southwest #shame #on #you #southwest #airlines kicked a man off the plane with his two year old daughter because she was afraid and not sitting in her own seat.. he asked the lady for a minute to calm her down she walked away and called people to remove him. The baby was already calm by now and sitting in her own seat. Captain then came over intercom to say we will be going back to the gate to handle a customer service issue. They then told me stop filming and this issue did not involve me, and that me and another woman who spoke up will be the next off he plane. The flight attendant then came to tell me be quiet stop talking ( to the person next to me ) no one around me wants to hear about the situation. #Flight1683 #MDW to #ATL ABC 7 Chicago NBC Chicago Southwest Airlines #Michelle was the flight attendantPosted by Alexis Armstrong on Wednesday, March 14, 2018