Sometimes practicing freedom of speech can get you in a lot of hot water -- particularly if you decide to publicly rage against a person who says she is just doing her job. A father in Denver was flying on Southwest Airlines to Minneapolis with his daughters, ages 6 and 9, when he and his family were reportedly kicked off the flight because he tweeted about a ticket agent who he said was very rude and disrespectful to him.
Duff Watson says he was an A-list member of the airline and, as such, should have been able to board the plane before other passengers. But when an agent gave him a difficult time about it, he took to Twitter and expressed his anger -- by including the agent's first name, last initial, and the gate number where she was working in his post. His tweet prompted the airline to pull him and his daughters off the flight, saying he was posing a "safety threat."
Watson, who says he has been traveling with Southwest for several years, claims an agent wouldn't allow him to board the plane with his children and that he didn't want to leave his young girls to board alone. When he questioned her about whether this was a "new policy," he says the agent wouldn't answer him and instead told him to step aside so she could help other A-list members.
Watson says he wanted to complain to customer service about the agent, but that she refused to give him her last name. Instead, he says, he resorted to Twitter, where he posted the following: "Wow, rudest agent in Denver. Kimberly S, gate C39, not happy @SWA."
Well, dad and his daughters were ultimately allowed to board the plane, but not long after they did, Watson heard his name called upon the loudspeaker. A flight attendant reportedly instructed him and his girls to get off the plane immediately. The agent claimed Watson was a "safety threat," and he says he and his family were not allowed back on the plane until he deleted his tweet.
I can understand why this dad was upset -- traveling with kids can be stressful enough. He says his daughters were crying after the incident. Since we weren't there, it's a case of Watson's word versus the agent's word. We aren't sure exactly what he said or what she said, so there's no way of telling whether she was treating him in an unfair way. It's also unclear why he wasn't allowed to board early.
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But here's what is clear: dad shouldn't have tweeted this agent's name and where she works. I wouldn't go as far as to say that he was posing a security threat, but it wasn't fair of him to expose her in such a way. How would he feel if someone tweeted to the universe a rant against one of his daughters and included her name and where she can be found? It's not okay.
Southwest reportedly issued a formal apology to the man and included a $50 voucher, which Watson says he plans to donate to a charity.
Do you think this dad was treated unfairly being kicked off a flight because of an angry tweet he posted?
Image via Kevin Dooley/Flickr