Years ago, I wrote a column on how the TSA had effectively made up a crime of telling a joke at an airport. It appears that TSA is not the only humor-challenged airport staff. Southwest Airlines passenger Peter Uzelac told a relatively innocent joke after being delayed for several hours due to a maintenance issue. A flight attendant did not think it was funny and had the plane return to the gate and Uzelac thrown off of the flight over the vehement objections of the other passengers. Rather than pledge to deal with the flight attendant, Southwest simply expressed regret for a “less-than-positive experience.”
According to KTXL, Uzelac was on a May 8 flight from Sacramento, California to Austin, Texas by way of Los Angeles. After waiting for several hours, the flight attendants began to hand out water bottles and Uzelac simply quipped something along the lines of ‘They should be passing out vodka because we’ve been waiting so long.”
The flight attendant reportedly said that she did not like the joke and Uzelac’s wife intervened and said it was just a joke because they had been on the plane for hours. The flight attendant is quoted as saying “Well, so have I, so get used to it.” She then went to spoke to the pilots who returned to the gate and kicked off Uzelac. Other passengers reportedly objected that he had done nothing wrong but it did not seem to matter.
I don’t recall flight attendants holding such authority years ago. Here passengers were vocally objecting about the treatment of the passenger but there appeared to be no ability to get a second opinion or review.
Moreover, the airline left the passengers with the almost creepy statement
“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.”
I would make a joke but I might need to fly Southwest in the future.