Lindsay Wilcox, NBCDFW.com
Southwest Airlines Co. suspended a pilot whose disparaging comments about gays and older flight attendants were transmitted over an air-traffic control frequency.
A Southwest Airlines pilot was suspended after a profanity laced tirade was heard over an air traffic control frequency that can be heard for dozens of miles and by dozens of pilots and air traffic controllers.
The 12-year Southwest Airlines pilot based out of Houston was not identified by the FAA, nor the airline.
Air traffic was stopped for several minutes while the pilot spouted gay slurs and derogatory comments about his older and overweight female coworkers.
"A continuous stream of gays, grannies and grandes," he can be heard saying.
A microphone inside the cockpit got stuck, allowing the rant to be broadcast and causing communication between other pilots and air traffic controllers to be halted during the pilots four minute tirade.
The pilot used gay slurs when describing his coworkers.
Air traffic controllers tried to interject but the pilot could not hear them and continued on his rant.
"Okay, whoever is transmitting you'd better watch what you're saying," an air traffic controller is heard saying.
"Now I'm back in Houston, which is easily where the ugliest base is. I mean it's all these f--king old dudes and grannies and there's, like, maybe a handful of cute chicks," he said.
Houston NBC affiliate KPRC obtained the recording from the Federal Aviation Administration using the Freedom of Information Act.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines released the following statement:
"Southwest Airlines is committed and dedicated to maintaining the highest standard of ethics in the industry; in fact we’ve built our Company’s reputation on the Golden Rule: treating others as you would like to be treated, with concern, care and respect. The actions of this Pilot are, without question, inconsistent with the professional behavior and overall respect that we require from our Employees. The Pilot in question has been reprimanded, receiving a suspension without pay for a length of time. Prior to being reinstated, he underwent additional diversity education to reinforce the Company's expectations for all Employees to demonstrate respect for others. The pilot is remorseful and has formally apologized to both FAA Controllers and his base Leadership.
The pilot has been Employed with Southwest for more than a dozen years."
Southwest Airlines Flight Operations Captain Chuck Magill also posted a video response to this incident. Click here to view.
Southwest said the pilot was suspended without pay, and was reinstated only after undergoing diversity training.
The flight attendants union released a statement today saying the flight attendents at Southwest Airlines are "deeply disappointed and angered by the insensitive, and unprofessional comments demeaning flight attendants" and that they were "dismayed by the response from Southwest Airlines' management."
The statement went on to say the TWU Local 556 had instructed attorneys to investigate the possibility of filing an EEOC charge with the federal government.