My Experience With Crazy Passengers On Airplanes (Flying Southwest)
Crazy passengers on airplanes are on the rise, and they are causing a lot of problems. We’ve talked about some of those incidents here and here. The FAA is handing out record fines for problems in airports and on flights. Here’s my experience on a recent Southwest flight with a problematic passenger.
My wife and I flew on Southwest from Orlando MCO to Chicago MDW. In the waiting area at the gate, my wife pointed out a really large male who was talking unnecessarily loudly, with his mask down below his chin. She commented that he seemed drunk and wondered if he would cause problems. Turns out, she was right.
When they called for pre-boarding, this man walked to the gate with his cane, showing an obvious limp. Due to disability, he wanted to pre-board. The gate agents turned him away, noting that he seemed drunk. They denied him boarding and told him to go to the customer service counter (immediately next to our gate) to arrange to fly later.
Note that this was the last flight of the night to Chicago–leaving at 9:15pm.
The man began screaming at and berating the employees. The employees telling him he couldn’t board were black women. He was a white man. He began accusing them of being racist against him, threatening to beat them up–the whole 9 yards of crazy passengers you’ve seen on videos in airplanes and airports.
It Gets More Interesting
This man was traveling with his sister. She boarded without him and was seated 2 rows behind us. Through all of this toddler tantrum a man in his 60s was throwing outside, boarding went on without him. Including his sister.
The gate agents came onto the plane after boarding was completed, telling the sister that this man’s wallet was apparently in her backpack. She said she wasn’t getting off the plane, and why did he need his wallet?
The Ban Hammer
The Southwest gate agents told the woman that her brother needed his wallet to buy a new ticket. From his threats toward employees, they had banned him from Southwest. He needed his wallet so he could buy a ticket to fly on another airline, likely not happening tonight.
Oh, and the police were outside waiting to escort him out of the airport as soon as he retrieved his wallet.
We also got delayed while they located his luggage to get it off the plane.
Crazy passengers on airplanes and other incidents at airports are at all-time highs. This is a big part of why airlines aren’t selling alcohol. There is simply no need for this type of behavior, when travel is stressful enough as it is. Whether you like the rules or not, you agreed to follow them when you checked in and got your boarding pass. And flight crews & gate agents have a rough job; they are still people, so let’s treat them like it.
I’m really, really glad Southwest stood up for its people and banned this passenger from its airline.