Southwest Airlines has updated its pre-flight announcements to urge passengers to report any unwelcome behavior observed onboard.
Effective systemwide, you’ll now hearing the following as part of the pre-flight briefing before your next Southwest flight:
“We are here for your comfort and safety. Please report any unwelcome behavior to your flight attendant. Thank you for your attention.”
Sexual assault onboard a commercial airplane may not be increasing, but more are reporting it, spiking up statistics in recent years.
This presented a unique problem for fun-loving Southwest, the airline known for light-hearted jokes and safety demonstration limericks. How can you report a serious problem onboard an airline that is so laid-back?
A Southwest spokesperson told CNN that the announcement is meant to convey that flight attendants “are an approachable, professional resource for reporting any unwelcome behaviors or conduct during a flight.” He added:
“This change reflects Southwest’s commitment to ensuring a safe and welcoming environment at all times.”
Consequences range from telling a disruptive passenger to stop to notifying law enforcement to meet the aircraft upon arrival.
While American, Delta, and United do not have this sort of specific language in their pre-flight announcements, Alaska does.
It’s a sad reflection on society that such an announcement is even needed, but it strikes me as a helpful announcement, particularly on Southwest, where humor may be misconstrued as a lack of professionalism.
image: Southwest Airlines