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Minnesota family ordered off Southwest flight after dad posts critical tweet

Southwest Airlines
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Ever tweeted about poor service from a company? Course you have. Ever had any troublesome comeback from it? Probably not.

Minnesota man Duff Watson didn’t fare so well, however, after a tweet he wrote commenting on what he perceived to be poor service from a Southwest Airlines agent led to him being ordered off a plane and told to delete the offending post.

The incident occurred on Sunday when Watson, together with his two children aged six and nine, prepared to board an aircraft for a flight from Denver to Minneapolis.

A-List flier

Watson’s frequent use of the airline had gained him ‘A-List’ status with the carrier, bringing with it perks such as priority boarding. However, at the gate on Sunday, an agent reportedly told Watson he’d have to wait to board with everyone else as his two children were not A-List fliers.

Big deal or no big deal, the man from Minnesota wasn’t happy.

“In leaving, I said, you know, ‘Real nice way to treat an A-List. I’ll be sure to tweet about it,'” he told CBS Minnesota.

After tweeting something along the lines of “wow, rudest agent in Denver. Kimberley S, gate C39, not happy @SWA”, Watson boarded the aircraft with his two daughters and waited for the flight to get underway.

As he settled into his seat, it appears a social-media-monitoring minion at Southwest spotted the tweet and promptly contacted the gate.

Cop threat

The agent then boarded the plane and approached Watson, reportedly telling him his tweet had left her feeling that her safety was at risk. According to one of Watson’s daughters, she even threatened to call the cops.

Watson told CBS that at no point did he swear or use intimidating behavior during the exchange.

“There was nothing other than, you know, a terse exchange between a customer service agent and a customer,” he said.

Delete or don’t fly

Watson and his kids were told to leave the plane, whereupon he learned they would only be allowed back on if he deleted the offending Twitter post. Not wanting to miss his flight, he did so, though later posted another tweet referring to the incident, calling his experience “unreal” and the gate agent “rude”.

The airline told Digital Trends Wednesday that it “appreciates and is active in social media, and it is not our intent to stifle customer feedback”, adding that it’s continuing to investigate the incident. It insists it removed Watson from the plane “to resolve the conversation outside of the aircraft and away from the other passengers,” though declined to explain why its agent had apparently ordered the deletion of the tweet.

Southwest emailed Watson and apologized for what had happened, offering three $50 vouchers in the process. However, the dad told CBS he doesn’t want to fly with the airline again.

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