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Airline Pilot Suspended for Derogatory Rant Broadcast Over Stuck Mic

SWA
Photo credit: Southwest Airlines

June 23, 2011 – A Southwest Airlines pilot has been suspended after a flight deck rant was broadcast over a Houston Center frequency due to a stuck mic. The nearly four-minute profanity-laced tirade, posted by KPRC-TV in Houston, occurred in March and involved derogatory comments about flight attendants at the airline. The controller tried in vain to interrupt the pilot and several crews were heard disavowing the statements, such as Skywest 6285: “And they wonder why airline pilots have a bad reputation."

Southwest issued the following statement in response to what it labeled, “Inappropriate Flight Deck Conversation”:

“We are committed and dedicated to maintaining the highest standard of ethics in the industry; in fact we’ve built our Company’s reputation on the Golden Rule: treating others as you would like to be treated, with concern, care and respect. The actions of this Pilot are, without question, inconsistent with the professional behavior and overall respect that we require from our Employees. The Pilot in question has been reprimanded, receiving a suspension without pay for a length of time. Prior to being reinstated, he underwent additional diversity education to reinforce the Company's expectations for all Employees to demonstrate respect for others. The pilot is remorseful and has formally apologized to both FAA Controllers and his base Leadership. Southwest’s Flight Operations Leadership has also sent an apology to Southwest Flight Attendants and his fellow Pilots.”

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