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Southwest Pilot Apologizes For Rant Heard Worldwide

June 28, 2011 To All Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants and all Employees: Because of the impact of my comments, I wanted to communicate with you directly. Please accept my most sincere apology for the inappropriate and disrespectful remarks I made in March with an open microphone. I deeply regret the derogatory remarks I made and the hurt I have caused—I take full responsibility for those comments. It was truly insensitive of me and I would like all of you to know that from now on, I will… ( More...

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A microphone stuck on Open...and a mind stuck in the '50's. A dangerous and embarrassing combination. His seemingly heartfelt apology is a start.
Time will reveal his sincerity.
dbaker 0
Original/related squawk on this story: [ Southwest Pilot Suspended For Slurs, Swearing Over Houston Air Traffic Control Radio]
Chris Bryant 0
Dear people,
I'm sorry I'm so dumb as to not notice the XMIT light was on and the fact that I got busted for saying what I think.
Jeff Grana 0
If it wasn't so ILLEGAL these days to say what you think, this wouldn't be such a big deal. People would have heard this and thought, "That guy is a douche," and that would be the end of it.
richard weiss 0
Chris, there is no XMIT light in the b737.
Fleagle 0
"There's nothing so far away as three minutes ago."
We're all 'human'.(I think.)

Nobody's perfek. sorry-(poifect)
pdixonj 0
Chris...that says it all...the jerk's only sorry that his comments were heard outside of the cockpit.

Jeff...What he said wasn't illegal, but it does tarnish the reputation of the company that he works for and destroys the trust he had with the ones that expect him to be doing his job while in the air, not running his fat insulting should have gotten him fired.

His real punishment will come every single time he steps on to an airplane and gets the cold shoulder, or has to worry about if he can ask for a cup of coffee without a little something extra being added to it...and I'm not talking cream or sugar.
leenick 0
The only real difference between him and everyone else is, his comments were made public. Everyone makes comments about other people, (just look at the blogs on this site) good or bad, right or wrong, in aviation or any other industry, in a group or one on one, if we say something inappropriate and get caught, we will naturally be embarrassed and ashamed by our comments. Now he has to face those people he made the comments about, and I'm sure it will make is work environment uncomfortable, not only for him, but the people he works with.
Chris Bryant 0
Richard - thanks for the fact check. My statement was meant to be generic, but it's always good to know these things.
A good pilot is always learning.
You guys are all fired. This is America and we have have the right to say what we think, it's too bad some people think they are above everyone else and they are the only ones with rights. I agree with Leenick, he just got caught saying it openly. Why is it that they can say what they want but we can't say what we think?
stol701 0
Judging from some of these comments, the only gripe that pilot left out was what a bunch of over-sensative wimps todays men are.
Amy Dillon 0
He only apologized publicly to keep his job. I do agree that fat and ugly flight attendants should be filtered out, as in many other countries. I also know that many commercial pilots are misogynists looking for a lay over on their lay overs...
dba74m -1
Amy, a lot of the female flight attendants are actively looking for a good time also, not just male pilots.
Fleagle -1
AEROFLOT is looking for Flight Attendants. . .
(but you have to be a 'Party' member. . . .get it?
member being a person not,____ an appendage(s)

But Beauty is in the eye of the beholder(ess)'s.

I mean... look at a Twin Otter. It ain't no Lear but it's a lovin' thing and it'll take you places a Lear wouldn't dream of.

"It's Just Not Fair!" said the sage little 11 year old.
AT ANY RATE________
Full-size... Reubenesque, WOMAN (yes!!!) are just as loveable,loving and Needed as the sleek & demure cheetahs are.
What about fat,old,ugly Transport Pilots...(tht dnt gva sht)you don't want to see`em Cry? Do You? You never will
Just go to LUV field, you'll see. Or, ANC ( AK Scarelines )
Another thing is -
You never want to make a fat 'person' mad. You want to see something that trumps Rage On the Serengheti on the Nature Channel,just make a fat person Mad. They can Move,too. YOU gonna Get chastened.
There's a whole lot of lovin' in (them) cornFeds youuuBetcha.
They Know how to Cook too.

God Bless us, all!
alistairm -1
Well, i suppose it is good that he atleast apologized... after some arm twisting i imagine. Did he really mean what he said in his apology? Probably not. He only agreed to apologize in this manner so that he could save his job. But i do agree that the best punishment for this guy is to keep him on the job. Boy is he going to feel uncomfortable!! I think in the end, he may wish he had quit and gone into hiding! Really have no comment on whether he should have said what he said. He is allowed to say what he feels and thinks. Though, perhaps think before you speak. The cockpit should be kept a professional area of work. What he said was not very professional or intelligent. Good luck buddy!
bill mcclure 0
the only person who should be or not be offended is the other pilot---he made a mistake and left his mike on--period---raise your hand if everything you ever said , good or bad was duly noted by all----didn't think so--now go get a life---and the union for flt attendants for southwest is really the most nothing union in the industry---all union business goes through the front office---not kidding about that---
airdawg 0
to jim statler. RIGHT ON BROTHER! Land of the Free, Home of the offended.
Av SalesPro 0
Whose mic was left open? Was it the co-pilots? If so then maybe he was tired of listening to the captain and simply threw him under the bus?
Av SalesPro 0
His use of the word "tolerate" vs acceptance is spot on! It is a free country so others have the right to be heavy, gay, non gender specific, gothic..what ever floats their boat. We all have the obligation of tolerance in exchange for living under the U.S. constitution. But to say He has to accept their lifestyle choices or their criteria as to what is beautiful or acceptable is to infringe upon his rights or beliefs. As for the rant one degree or another..and maybe using different targets..we have all been there! His forum just happened to be bigger than he intended, hurt a few peoples feelings and embarrassed his employer.
Robert West 0
Yes I know what is like I too had a mic stick open. I turned the air blue all over the air base and curled the wing commander's ears too !
Craig Harris 0
I would have just resigned with no apology. Flying for the airlines is just one step above bus driver anyway.
Richard Dugger 0
7 minutes ago

I would have just resigned with no apology. Flying for the airlines is just one step above bus driver anyway.

I think bus drivers get treated better nowadays, don't they?
John Cook 0
Did anyone note the format?

1. State that you understand what you did was hurtful
2. Apologize to all (with great sincerety)
3. Take full responsibility
4. Etc. Etc.

It is straight out of the "PR Damage Control Handbook". The only thing to wonder about is if Southwest was doing the damage control or if "Capn' Playah" was worried about his job and his future crew meals. A formulaic press release doesn't really change a thing.
dba74m -1
Alright troll, I'm sure you would have resigned from a $170,000 a year career with benefits, whatever you say. What do you do for a living?
Richard Dugger -1
Any of you professional pilots out there making 170K a year nowadays?
I thought those days were over.

Remids me of the hot shot Air Force jocks that were harassing the grey haired airline pilots in the Holiday Inn lounge and the jet fighter pilot asks the airline pilot if he ever saw 70 thousand? (feet he is thinking)
The older but wiser airline pilot replies:

"Only on my W-2 sonnyboy. Only on my W-2"

But that was back when airline pilots got the respect they deserved.
Craig Harris 0
$170k + benefits doesn't begin to cover what they have to put up with these days.
Dennis Davis 0
i would love to post something, but everyone has said everything i would have said. i would love to fly for my living and know i'm doing what i love. every job has its drawbacks, but sometimes its just best not to tell anyone because tomorrow i would get up and do what i love again.
Robert Larson 0
what I don't get... why wasn't he fired for this? Seems like a simple enough decision. Or is the airline stuck due to union rules maybe?
Jo Fowlkes 0
Sounds like he is quite arrogant, I bet what he said was no suprise to anyone who knows him........he is what he is even to the extent of confusion!
fireboy63 0
I think you nailed it, AV SalesPro! When I was reading the article, and read the line about "they would have preferred if he used the term 'acceptance' instead of 'tolerance'," I was thinking: "Really?!? REALLY?" The man is allowed to have his opinions and beliefs; he shouldn't have to lie and say that he suddenly loves gay people and overweight people if that's not how he really feels. People are certainly entitled to their opinions (no matter how harsh or awful they are), and I also agree with the comments above that we've become a nation of easily offended people. We really need to get over ourselves sometimes. :\
dkleinpve 0
Wanna get away?
Marco Barajas 0
"His use of the word "tolerate" vs acceptance is spot on! It is a free country so others have the right to be heavy, gay, non gender specific, gothic..what ever floats their boat. We all have the obligation of tolerance in exchange for living under the U.S. constitution. But to say He has to accept their lifestyle choices or their criteria as to what is beautiful or acceptable is to infringe upon his rights or beliefs."

+1 AvSalesPro. Acceptance is what everyone WANTS to hear. What a bunch of sissies.
Ralph Wigzell 0
You can see the mod that Southwest has installed to prevent a repeat of this gaffe [ here]
andy smith 0
There is a BIG difference between making a few inappropriate comments or talking about people behind their back and being a blatant bigot and sexist. This guy isn't gonna even begin to understand what a douche he is without years of therapy. It probably goes back several generations and seems normal to him as it does so many other ignorant, insecure males with small units.
Ralph Wigzell 0
There is cockpit banter and cockpit banter. I haven't heard the transmission but it reminds me of when I was an F/O, I was flying with a captain who was a bit younger than me. During boarding he was making lewd remarks about the female passengers embarking. What he didn't know was that his girlfriend (in fact one of his girlfriends...) was the purser and was standing in the cockpit door... A professional crew will refrain from such conversation and keep it for the pub after the flight.
Sounds like he grew up in the days (1980-2010) when it was your right to speak your mind. Unfortunately, he spoke his mind with an open mic.

Words are like feathers thrown up in the air - they will scatter and you'll never be able to gather them all back in. Careful what you say out there.
Sorry, not your right to speak your mind - you thought you had the right to speak your mind.
Steve Seretan 0
Ungrateful ah. I am a private pilot with commercial and multi engine ratings.
He's got one of the best f--g jobs out there, and doesn't appreciate it. He should've been fired. Instead of doing his job, he is p---y hunting.
birdmann 0
I hope those of you who accidentally get recorded saying your Archie Bunker statements on the kids recorder in your own home don't have to listen to it being played on a computer. Oh, I know... That would be FREE SPEACH.
Steve Seretan 0
Free speech, yes. On an open mic on a PUBLIC radio frequency? This was not on your kid's recorder. Sorry. SWA had a right to terminate him, and should have. AMC and other channels on PAID TV cut all the juicy words out of the films until I can't watch anymore. Like Top Gun. Ruin it.Why? So this moron gets to talk about getting laid while being paid ( a lot) to fly (hard work) LOL. Free speech allows you to say anything, but enjoy the results. He will do it again, I am sure.
There is no acceptable apology for the way this pilot thinks. He should keep his opinions at home, and stay professional at work.
Amy Dillon 0
I'm not defending this behavior, but it's pretty standard for commercial pilots (and men in general) to think about getting a lay over on their lay-overs. It's not moral. It's not right. But this guy's mic got stuck and he decided to grumble about his slim chances for that evening's hotel stay.

The flight deck gets boring for pilots. Finally the FAA is changing to let them read to stay alert. Men comment or think about sex quite a bit, so, yes, he was completely inappropriate, but airlines are fully aware of this type of conversation happening on a regular basis. And this is nothing against female pilots. Just let the airline handle it.
Martin Dennett 0
I have my own views on this but someone who has already commented will disagree with me. Pren Junior - your first sentence in 100% correct. With you all the way on that one buddy.
Steve Seretan 0
They are letting CONTROLLERS read, not pilots.You got that wrong. Flight deck boring? I don't think so. At 500 mph, it cannot be boring. Please! Things happen very fast at that speed. I've flown at 220, and that's fast enough.Trust me. If it's boring, go do some real work.
smoki 0
It was a Weiner moment and like the former NY congressman, this fella is only sorry because he was caught. And like Weiner, he will have to live with it for the rest of his life. He will never be able to escape it. Everywhere he goes it will be there and he will have to face it if only in winks, nods and whispers, and that alone will exact a punishment.
dba74m -1
Flight deck IS boring during cruise, Steve, hate to break it to you. The 500+mph you describe isn't noticeable unless you pass a cloud or opposite-direction traffic.
Steve Seretan -1
I know one does not notice the speed, but I don't see how it can be boring. Maybe if I did it as a Part 121 pilot, it would get that way, but I am the sole driver when I fly. It is never boring, and I love it. I knew if I did it in the airlines, I would grow to not like it, so I didn't. Like Wiener, this guy's teenager patterns will bite him at some point. It has no business in the air or in SWA, on of the best ones out there.
Amy Dillon -1
Good for you, Steve, seriously, if you are not bored looking at sky for hours at cruise altitude. I know of alot of commercial pilots that get bored up there in the flight deck. No disrespect to the profession. They need to be called every hour (in my opinion) to see if they need to stretch their legs, have some coffee, or would like a conversation with an F/A. It breaks the time up, especially if the Captain and the FO are not having the best conversation together for several hours. Happy 4th.
smoki -1
Boring as used in preceding posts as presumably justification for the now world famous broadcast of a personal dysfunctional inter-relationship psychosis by a SWA pilot is a term synonymous with complacency in aviation, that ever present potential for pilot error when surprised by the unexpected. Such was likely the cause of the Air France 447 crash (Airbus 330)in the Atlantic a year ago. Electric airplanes have in my opinion unfortunately increased that potential by turning pilots into more of a systems monitor than a hands on operator, especially up and away in cruise. Sullenberger's "Miracle on the Hudson" is a good example of not being complacent/bored with another seemingly routine takeoff from "La Garbage."

Fate will almost always surprise you with the unexpected when its least expected even to the extent of both pilots falling asleep and overflying their destination by a 100 miles after repeated wake up calls from ATC and other pilots. While it's been said that aviation is hours and hours of boredom punctuated by moments of stark terror, that's only true if the pilot allows it to be so.

What has all this got to do with the aforementioned SWA pilot? Everything! He, like the vast majority in the commercial aviation business who routinely do so, needs to stay focused on operating the machine safely and efficiently and less on himself for the sake of all those strangers seated behind him who have placed their lives in his hands.
Steve Seretan 0
I couldn't agree more with Paul. Well said. Boredom has been described as "hostility without enthusiasm". It is also apathy, which has NO place in an aircraft travelling at 500 mph with 100+ passengers on board. One must be on his/her toes to do what Sully did. Complacency will test you when you least expect it. I hope on my next airline flight, I don't have bored drivers looking at the sky. Call them if you must. They should always be ready for what could happen. CAT, bird strike from one sucked up and then dropped, etc. I fly to GET un-bored. That's the difference. When it bores me, I will hang up my headphones for good.


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