What happened when a disruptive passenger on Southwest screamed about not wearing her mask? Southwest Airlines calmly escorted her off the aircraft, refunded her ticket, and walked her out of the airport secure area. Why roll out the red carpet for someone who doesn’t follow the rules?
Southwest Airlines Shows Kindness Toward Disruptive Passenger
We’ve had several conversations about the efficacy of masks versus simply the right of airlines to set rules that apply equally to all passengers. I continue to insist that whether reasonable or not, airlines have a clear right to require masks as a condition of travel.
Here, a woman traveling from Nashville to Las Vegas on Southwest Airlines refused to keep her mask on after she boarded the plane. Eventually, the captain opted to return to the gate to offload the passenger. She refused to get off, which prompted Southwest to deplane all the other passengers.
Officers from the Metro Nashville Airport Authority Department of Public Safety escorted her off, where she encountered boos and hisses from passengers waiting in the gate area to reboard. The picture above, captured by passenger Kevin Ross, shows the woman (center) arguing with another passenger over masks (the passenger insisted she did not have to wear one).
“Thanks to this woman, an entire plane of passengers had to deplane because she refused to wear a mask. Passengers thanked her for ruining their day (missed connections due to the delay) and screamed back, ‘I’m allowed! I’m allowed!’ to which at least half of the passengers in unison yelled back ‘No you are not!'”
Despite the costly disruption, Southwest Airlines refunded her ticket and full and then police escorted her out of the secure side of the airport and into baggage claim. She was not arrested.
Why Roll Out The Red Carpet For This Fool?
Southwest is to be commended for handling the situation calmly and with dignity. But I’m actually dismayed Southwest processed a refund for the problematic passenger. As far as I am concerned, she forfeited her right to a refund when she refused to abide by the clearly-communicated guidelines of Southwest that required masks.
She held up the flight, causing delays and missed connections for several onboard. But it almost seems like she was rewarded for her poor behavior.
Southwest handled this situation with great restraint. While it laudable that the woman was removed with no injury to herself and others, the processing of a refund seems to reward her poor behavior. If you are doing business with me and don’t hold up your end of the bargain, I’m not offering you a refund…
image: Facebook / Kevin Ross
Maybe it’s just easier for them to write off the money and be done with her. Does SW ban passengers like Delta? Hopefully the do and she ended up on the list. Some customers need to be fired
Cheaper to give her back the fare than the extra hour the lawyer would have to bill on that issue when this eventually gets to court. Sure, you are going to get sued anyways, but now you can argue on consideration as well as fulfillment.
Do you know in general if someone is involuntarily denied boarding for a reason other than oversale, does the carrier normally process an involuntary refund? Or in cases like this, does the carrier try to keep the money? I know also in a lot of cases if the pax calms down a carrier will rebook them on a later same day or next day flight.
No refund. If that’s too expensive (escalates legal fees) then fine. But definitely have her arrested upon deplaning, and put her on the permanent no-fly list (which should be a pooled, all-airline no-fly list, so idiots like this don’t just switch to Spirit for their next stunt).
A punch in the face as she leaves wouldn’t be a bad idea either, but I’m sure the lawyers would prevail and head off that. Too bad.
It’s time to crack down, make examples of every single moron like this, no slack, no exceptions, no regrets. Failure to do so only results in more and more of this. You want the airlines to recover, get tough with these nimrods.
That’s what it’s going to take (for a long time) to get people to start behaving.
I’m with you on the no refund for being a tool…. but it must just not be worth their time, effort and possible additional $ for the increasing hassle that she would cause.
It is sad that some bad apples just cannot cooperate because it creates more problems for the rest of us!!
Jail time and big fines-nothing less. Can you imagine the problems caused for all the other passengers (missed flights/lost vacations-business engagements etc.) and the costs incurred by the airline to accommodate this one rude (brat) ‘Karen’? I’m tired of this [redacted by admin] and these problem individuals should pay the price.
I am not going to argue how Southwest handled this situation. I admit that they have the right to make any reasonable rule they deem necessary. My question is: Did Southwest make it clear that wearing a mask on their flights were mandatory? If they did and this woman STILL made a scene then they did what they thought was correct. When she purchased the ticket(s) was she advised that wearing a mask was mandatory on their flights? If so, whether verbally or in writing, then she had no right to proceed with the purchase and then make objections to the rule she was advised about before the purchase was consummated.
Easier to give back the money than to continue the scene she was causing. Personally, I would have put her in a straight jacket and muzzled her, then off to jail she would go. No refund involved. In fact she should be fined and forced to re-pay any expenses incurred for the delay she caused for all the passengers on that flight!
SW should have charged all the costs associated with the delay to her, instead of giving her a refund.
Nope, that’s what you save for the counterclaim if she sues. Plus, you go full on murum aries attigit, when she does file. SW looks calm and reasonable because they gave her money back and went on with their day and didn’t make any threats until they absolutely had no choice. My insurance defense colleagues call that “We tried to be nice but she wouldn’t take yes for an answer”.
Turning the other cheek. Imagine that. Classy, SW.
If SW had not refunded this obnoxious, entitled Karen, she might have served SW with a Small Claims Court action. SW would not even have to respond to the subpoena because, as mentioned by several others here, the lawyer(s) alone would have cost more.
But at least the legal process would have forced the “Karen” to file paperwork and pay the filing fees; wait for a court date; show up in court; then file for Summary Judgment on a “no show”; and pay for a processor to serve the papers. That would have taken up some of Her Highness’ time and effort. SW would still have to pay the cost to refund the ticket and a few bucks in court costs, fees, etc. The price of her ticket aside, still a miniscule amount compared to the price of an attorney. And you get to piss Karen off.