A man traveling on Southwest Airlines says his wife was called out by a flight attendant for making other passengers "uncomfortable."
Journalist Mehdi Hasan shared his story on Twitter, where he says a flight attendant confronted his wife after she asked to switch seats with another passenger so she could sit with her family. According to Hasan, the flight attendant “complained about the Muslim woman” to ground staff.
The flight, which occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday, was operating on an “open-seating policy,” which meant that passengers didn’t have assigned locations and seats were picked as passengers boarded on a first-come, first-served basis, The Sun reports.
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!”
Hasan continued his story, explaining how the flight attendant seemingly escalated the situation. “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!).”
The Twitter thread also explained that other passengers and airline employees wondered why the flight attendant “wouldn’t shut up and let things go so we could take off.”
Later on, Hasan posted an update saying 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.”
In a statement obtained by Fox News, a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, the company explained that 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 confirms that Hasan and his family were able to sit together once the situation was handled.
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."