In a recent airline quality survey that hammered Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines finished in the middle of the pack. But Minnesota's Duff Watson would no doubt rank the carrier much lower. He says he was asked to deplane prior to a flight home from Denver because he criticized a Southwest agent on Twitter.
The story comes to us from WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, which reports that Watson has A-list priority boarding status with Southwest. But at DIA, he was prevented from getting onto his flight early because he wanted to take his two kids, ages six and nine, with him.
What followed was a testy exchange with the agent. "In leaving I said, you know, 'Real nice way to treat an A-list. I'll be sure to tweet about it,'" Watson told the station.
He was as good as his word. He remembers the tweet saying something to the effect of "Wow, rudest agent in Denver. Kimberly S, gate C39, not happy @SWA."
Watson and the kids subsequently took their seats, boarding at the same time as regular passengers. But shortly thereafter, Southwest personnel told him they'd have to deplane unless he deleted the tweet, which allegedly made the agent in question feel threatened.
He did so under duress (and to quiet his kids, who were freaked out and began crying), but vented his spleen on Twitter afterward. Here's one tweet....
Unreal exp. Awaiting resp. from airline. Asked for name of rude gate agent. We board. I tweet. Kids & I pulled off unless I delete. AYKM?
— Duff Watson (@DuffWatson) July 21, 2014
...and its sequel:
— Duff Watson (@DuffWatson) July 22, 2014
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That followup was an e-mailed apology and $50 Southwest vouchers for each member of the trio. Not that they're likely to be used: As you can see by the hashtag above, Watson has no plans to fly Southwest again.
Here's the WCCO-TV report.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.