A man traveling on a Southwest Airlines said that a flight attendant threatened to remove his wife from the flight for allegedly wanting to sit with her family. The passenger also said that the crew member said that the Muslim woman was making other passengers "uncomfortable."
Journalist Mehdi Hasan shared his story on Twitter. He said that a flight attendant confronted his wife after she asked to switch seats with another passenger so she could sit with her family. The flight, which occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday, was operating on an "open-seating policy."
On his Twitter account, Hasan posted, "Hey Southwest Air: not a good look for your flight attendant on SW5539 to DC last night to loudly tell a brown woman in a headscarf she'll be 'escorted off the plane' for making people feel 'uncomfortable' -- because she wanted to sit with her husband & kids!"
Southwest Airlines apologized "privately'
Hasan continued his story, explaining: "The flight attendant called ground staff onto the plane," he continued, "complained about the Muslim woman -- my wife! -- to them, & escalated rather than de-escalated the situation -- simply because my wife politely asked a guy if he'd give up his seat for our family (which he was fine with!)."
In an update, Hasan said that Southwest Airlines had apologized to him "privately," but refused to do so publicly. The company later replied to the original Twitter thread, where it posted, "I can only empathize with the depths of you and your family's feelings on this matter, and I'm sorry that we don't have another resolution to offer. You have my assurances that the events as you have described them were carefully documented."
People first at Southwest
In a statement obtained by Fox News, a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, said Hasan and his family boarded the aircraft at "different times." According to their reports, this led to a disagreement in the cabin about "saving seats on the airplane."
The statement concludes, "We have apologized to Mr. Hasan and his family for their less than positive travel experience. Regarding Mr. Hasan's claims, Southwest neither condones nor tolerates discrimination of any kind. Since Southwest Airlines' inception, we have put People first and live by the Golden Rule by maintaining mutual respect for our fellow Southwest Airlines Employees, our Customers, and the diverse communities we serve."