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Southwest Airlines PR takes another hit on social media

Southwest Airlines PR Takes Another Hit On Social Media

Here's yet another example of how -- deserved or not -- what you say on social media can definitely cause you some grief.

Duff Watson vented on Twitter about a recent experience with a Southwest Airlines gate agent who wouldn't let his kids board priority with him.

"Something to the effect of, 'Wow, rudest agent in Denver. Kimberly S, gate C39, not happy @SWA,'" Watson recalled of his tweet.

If you look on Watson's Twitter now, you won't see that tweet anymore, because -- he says -- that agent forced him to delete the tweet. Minneapolis CBS-affiliate WCCO is the only outlet so far that's actually talked to him.

You can kind of follow the fallout from his tweets that are still there. The most recent one references an emailed apology from Southwest to Watson.

However, it appears that isn't good enough for Watson, who called it a "double insult."

We reached out to Watson on Twitter for more on Southwest's response but haven't heard back. Still, although Watson did eventually get to continue on to his final destination, Southwest has been the subject of similar headlines before. We were reminded of a couple other high-profile incidents.

In 2007, NBC says Kyla Ebbert got kicked off for this outfit, which a Southwest employee said was too skimpy.

In 2011, ABC says there was Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong -- who says he was kicked off a flight for sagging his pants.

In 2012, a woman told the blog Jezebel that Southwest staff told her that she had to cover her cleavage or she wouldn't get to fly.

Granted, those are all clothing-related incidents -- and we should add that Southwest apologized to each of those customers.

Nonetheless, it has been called the "airline industry's version of the Soup Nazi" by The Week.

Then again, it's also been praised by Ragan Communications for its responses to negative publicity on social media.

The airline operates 3,600 flights a day and was listed at number 8 on Forbes' list of America's best airlines.

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Join the discussion

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buddwhyzr July 23 2014 at 2:23 PM

Just shut up, take your seat and do as your told. Want priority seating for everybody? Pay for everybody "Mr. I'm special"

Flag Reply +96 rate up
11 replies
dollar62 July 23 2014 at 2:14 PM

Why can't people just follow rules without complaining. He didn't purchase priority boarding for his kids, just for himself. The whole purpose of SW is general seating, no saving seats for others who are too cheap or too inept to call 24 hours in advance for boarding sections. Why is it SW fault?. He could've waited to board With his children like the rest.

Flag Reply +77 rate up
7 replies
David July 23 2014 at 2:17 PM

A business has the right to serve who they want. If you as a female want to wear a belt around your waist and call it a skirt...fine...but don't expect to be accepted for your poor taste. If Watson's children were not part of a priority boarding..then he was asking the gate keeper to break the rules which she is supposed to uphold. If that's the case then he is wrong and rude. I don't want his children going ahead of me if they are not supposed to board.

Flag Reply +60 rate up
4 replies
spdy65 July 23 2014 at 1:55 PM

Kudos to the airline for making people dress in a decent manner. I do not care to see underwear or cleavage. To be perfectly frank, the people who dress that way usually are the very ones who need to be totally covered. In other words, ucking fugly. But the airline or an agent of the airline has no right to make someone erase a tweet, or any published opinion.

Flag Reply +50 rate up
11 replies
Mac Guy July 23 2014 at 3:12 PM

Chalk it up to another "Stupid Parent Trick". People nowadays think that they can blackmail companies by whining on Facebook or Twitter. Too bad SW felt a need to apologize rather than banning this d-o-u-c-h-e from every flying with them again.

Flag Reply +49 rate up
1 reply
barryaclarke Mac Guy July 23 2014 at 5:07 PM

Should have told him and the kids to go fly United................

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
petersonentvt barryaclarke July 23 2014 at 5:52 PM

or Malaysia air

Flag +1 rate up
chrissf4529 July 23 2014 at 3:07 PM

Frankly, He is an idiot. Feeling the need to post every thought and action is for teenagers,not an adult, supposedly parenting his kids through an airport and flight.

Flag Reply +40 rate up
1 reply
blivethopper chrissf4529 July 23 2014 at 8:11 PM

and that makes the gate agent even more idiotic for making him remove the tweet.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
chrissf4529 blivethopper July 24 2014 at 9:57 AM

Problem with "tweets" like his, is, they are all one sided. So Southwest's version is not heard. I am sure if the gate agent had an opportunity to post a tweet about him, it would be also less flattering.

Flag 0 rate up
Welcome, Carole July 23 2014 at 2:00 PM

I fly Southwest 100% of the time and have always had exceptional service. I can't imagine any other airline being as friendly as the stewards on these flights. Even international (AirTran owned by Southwest) carries out the Southwest rules of friendly and accomodating. Just sayin !!!!!!

Flag Reply +33 rate up
1 reply
Dude Welcome, Carole July 23 2014 at 6:09 PM

If you fly SWA 100% of the time, then you've never been on another airline. No wonder you think they're great. If you only ate at McDonalds, you'd probably think they served great food. Isn't it hard to have an opinion about how good something is if you don't have anything to compare it to?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
3 replies
msdaubie54 July 23 2014 at 2:07 PM

Don't care how horrible your flight is or how rude employee's are, keep your complaints to yourself until you're on the ground at your destination!! In other words, "KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT"

Flag Reply +29 rate up
6 replies
jwfoust July 23 2014 at 1:48 PM

I fly on a regular basis. Airlines have bad days just like every other business. SW has been a good one for me.

Flag Reply +26 rate up
2 replies
parsnippler2 jwfoust July 23 2014 at 2:38 PM

Well, they can't be a-holes ALL the time....can they?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
blivethopper jwfoust July 23 2014 at 8:15 PM

'Wow, rudest agent in Denver. Kimberly S, gate C39, not happy @SWA

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Linda Jones July 23 2014 at 1:55 PM

I love SW and have always been treated great. Delta is another favorite. Sometimes people just have an off day.

Flag Reply +17 rate up
1 reply
parsnippler2 Linda Jones July 23 2014 at 2:39 PM

LOL Mhmm.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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