Man tweets about bad service, gets kicked off plane, told to delete tweet before re-boarding

Southwest Airlines offered $50 vouchers, but Duff Watson said it won’t fly with him as an apology

Twitter has long been the go-to platform for customers to vent their fury at bad customer service, and usually a complaint on social media will lead to a swift apology if nothing else.

But not for Minneapolis man Duff Watson, who says he and his two children were ejected from their flight for a tweet criticising Southwest Airlines’ service.

The father of two, who is an A-list member of the airline, tweeted his disappointment in the airline when his children, aged nine and six, were denied priority boarding alongside him for the flight from Denver to Washington.

After a terse exchange with the gate agent, who would not let the children through with the priority boarders despite them apparently being able to board with their father on numerous occasions, Mr Watson walked to the back of the queue to board with his kids.

He told ABC News: “I tweeted something like ‘Wow, rudest agent in Denver. Kimberly S, gate C39, not happy @SWA’.”

Having made his complaint, Mr Watson waited to board the plane with his children. The family found their seats and sat down, only to hear their names on the flight broadcast, telling them to get off the plane.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” he said, “I thought we left something or we were on the wrong flight.”

But that wasn’t the case: a flight attendant then came over to Mr Watson, refused to tell him what was going on, instead telling him, “You need to exit the flight immediately”.

Mr Watson’s children started crying and they left the flight, and was met by the gate agent who told him he was a “safety threat”.

“I was shocked, there was no use of profanity, there were no threats made. How was I a safety threat?” he said.

It wasn’t until Mr Watson deleted his tweet that he was allowed to re-board the flight with his children.

He then tweeted about his experience once he had safely landed at the other end, saying: “Unreal exp. Awaiting resp. from airline. Asked for name of rude gate agent. We board. I tweet. Kids & I pulled off unless I delete. AYKM?”

The airline issued a statement to confirm that a customer was removed for a short time, and that the incident is under review.

Southwest Airlines offered the family a $50 voucher each as a gesture of goodwill, and apologised to Mr Watson in an email, but that won’t make up for their poor customer service, he said.

“I’m not going to fly them again,” he said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific