Southwest Stories: 'Sober' Woman Booted for Drinking, Celeb Highjacks PA System

For years, the cognoscenti of Southwest chortled about never knowing what could happen on a flight, whether it’s a crew member initiating a game of ugliest-driver’s-license-photo or a pilot shouting, “Whoa, big fellow!” while landing the plane.

Southwest’s Too-Fat-to-Fly Lawsuit

Southwest: Two Faces of an Airline

However, some Southwest incidents take an arguably darker turn: a lesbian claimed she was kicked off a Southwest plane for sharing a kiss while rocker Billy Joe Armstrong was booted for allegedly wearing his pants too low. Two new Southwest incidents show off this airline yin and yang to perfection.

Woman Booted for Alleged Intoxication

In an exclusive on Jezebel, a woman who says she is a private school principal claims Southwest refused to let her board her Houston flight on July 9 because an airline representative believed that she was drunk. The woman, on the other hand, says she was absolutely sober and claims she can prove it.

Kicked Off Plane for Playing a Game

She was holding – and drinking from – beer in a plastic cup as she asked a gate agent about her flight’s status, but she says she’d only just purchased the drink. In any event, there was nothing illegal about her actions, and the woman says the idea she was drunk or anything close to it was “a joke.” Eventually, she left the airport to get a blood alcohol test at a local hospital which appeared to back up her claim of sobriety (and the test has been posted online).

However, Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins told FareCompare that four airline employees who witnessed the incident – including the pilot – indicated the woman was stumbling and slurring her words and it would be best to rebook her flight.

Why Do So Many Celebrities Fly Southwest

Flavor Flav Uses PA System to Tout Restaurant

Meanwhile, musician and reality TV personality Flavor Flav took over a Southwest PA system on a flight from Burbank to Las Vegas July 12. It is not clear if he had permission to do this but since he first thanked crew members and encouraged passengers to “give them a hand” (they did) it seems unlikely anyone thought to cut him off. Flav then went on to tout his restaurant, naming the various dishes served and finally led passengers in chanting his name.

Question to readers: How well did Southwest handle these incidents?


Published: July 16, 2012