Southwest Airlines, You Need to Walk the Talk

Posted: September 30, 2011 in General Business Fodder, Poor Customer Service
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I was very surprised, and very disappointed, to read today that last Monday, a flight attendant on Southwest Airlines saw fit to kick two women off of a flight because they shared a small kiss as they boarded the plane.  By all accounts, they were not tangled up in a hot make-out session, but just a quick “I love you” peck.  However, a flight attendant saw this as a flagrant violation of her moral worldview, and told then that their actions were not acceptable, because Southwest was a “family-oriented” airline.  As opposed to what?  Those other airlines that cater to perverts, homicidal maniacs, and drug dealers?

Oh, and in addition to being a family-oriented airline, Southwest is also the official airline for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).  How’s that for irony?

I, personally, have always liked Southwest.  Aside from their annoying commercials, I always felt they combined great service, great performance, and a sense of humor.  And, by virtue of being the titular “official airline” of GLAAD, there must some folks in Southwest’s management who were not horrified at the thought of same-sex couples.  However, their reluctance to apologize for this incident, or to publicly chastise its homophobic flight attendant, the company has drawn a line in the sand.

This is like the Montgomery, Alabama transit service of the 1950’s calling itself the “official bus line” of the city’s African Americans, provided, of course, that they sit at the back of the bus.  But then that pesky Rosa Parks had to ruin it for everyone by insisting on sitting in the middle of the bus!  How dare she!  Well, history buffs, how did that work out for the Montgomery bus system?  About as well as this incident is going to work out for Southwest, unless they get a clue, and get it quick!

So, I have two things to say about this, one is from the heart, and one is from the brain:

1) People, this is 2011.  We are 11 years into the 21st Century.  For the sake of all that you hold dear, isn’t it time we, as a people, finally got over ourselves, and realized that the world has changed (whether we like it or not), and that we need to reevaluate many of our long-held beliefs?  There are still so many people who want to drag us back to the “good ol’ days” of racism, sexism, religion-ism, and all the other “-isms” that claim one group of people to be superior over another.  Are we as a people really that insecure that we need to impose our worldview on everyone?

2) It’s bad enough when individuals show their bigoted side.  But when businesses do it, it is just plain stupid.  Especially in an economy that is as shaky as what we’ve been experiencing the past five years.  I mean, how smart is it that a multi-million dollar enterprise would risk sacrificing a significant source of its revenue, because one of its employees was appalled at the idea of two women in love, sharing a kiss.  Yeah, that’s a problem… too much love in the world today.  Knock that crap off, people.  We’re trying to run an airline here!  I’m sure the bean counters at Southwest don’t mind taking the money from the gay and lesbian community.  And money, ultimately, is what businesses are all about.  So here’s a tip, folks… treat everyone with the same courtesy and respect that you would give to people of your own race, religion, or sexual orientation.  If you can’t do that, perhaps you should not be in business.

If you want to take a stand on this matter, click here and sign a petition, demanding that Southwest step up to the plate and apologize for this incident.

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