Flight delays are annoying, but seasoned travelers know they come with the territory. There are some things flight crew members can do to make passengers more comfortable while they wait, but handing out free vodka apparently isn’t one of them. One passenger recently learned the hard way that they don’t much care for jokes about it either.
A man was reportedly ejected from a Southwest Airlines flight after kidding around with a flight attendant, suggesting cocktails might ease the pain of hours of waiting, according to KTXL-TV. Another passenger, Peter Uzelac, said the plane was grounded on the tarmac last Friday due to a maintenance light in the cockpit. The delay lasted long enough for the plane to have to refuel, Uzelac said. The other passenger reportedly tried to make light of the situation, and paid for it in the long run.
“He said something [like], ‘They should be passing out vodka because we’ve been waiting so long,’” Uzelac said, per the report.
While the crack seems lighthearted, and like it might not be the worst idea, Uzelac told KTXL-TV the flight attendant wasn’t amused. She apparently quipped back that she “didn’t like” the joke, prompting Uzelac’s wife to come to the in-flight funnyman’s defense. The flight attendant wasn’t moved by her attempts to lighten the moment, and was seen on a phone at the front of the plane. Shortly thereafter, the passenger was removed by local sheriff’s deputies. Other passengers backed the man, but the decision was made.
“People started yelling then… In fact, people stood up. I stood up,” Uzelac. “People were saying, ‘This man didn’t do anything.’”
The response to what appears to have been an innocent joke seems a little extreme, but it’s worth noting that there are two sides to every story and we’re only hearing a little bit of one of them. Southwest issued a statement on the matter, saying that it does its best to “maintain the comfort of all.” The airline vowed to check in with its Customer Relations Team, but didn’t say whether the man was or was not in the wrong, and would be compensated if the latter were true.
“We regret any less-than-positive experience a customer has onboard our aircraft. We welcome over 100 million customers each year, and we aim to maintain the comfort of all while delivering Southwest hospitality. We will share this report with our Customer Relations Team,” Southwest said, according to The Takeout.
The passenger hasn’t been charged with any crimes as a result of his removal from the flight. Hopefully, he’s somewhere enjoying a smooth vodka drink while this all blows over.