The morning flight was delayed for about an hour after a woman onboard became enraged and used racial slurs because the crew member asked her to put her tray table up for takeoff.
In a video recorded by another passenger, the woman yells the N-word at the flight attendant and continues to use the slur after she is removed from the plane.
The airline said the woman was met at the gate by local law enforcement.
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Southwest Airlines released the following statement to Fox News confirming the incident:
“On Flight #5593 with scheduled service from Chicago Midway to Houston Hobby on Saturday morning, our reports indicate that a Customer refused to comply with our Flight Crew’s instructions after boarding and before the flight departed Chicago. The customer became unruly and verbally abusive toward our flight attendants, and the decision was made to return to the gate to deplane the Customer, where she was met by local law enforcement officers. Our employees handled the situation professionally with grace and class, and we do not condone or tolerate such profane and unruly behavior on board our aircraft. Once the customer deplaned the aircraft, the flight resumed to Houston Hobby, arriving about an hour later than originally scheduled.”
The woman has not been charged with anything at this time, N.Y. Post reports.
“She’s a stupid [expletive]” the woman is heard saying. Some passengers applaud her exit.
Twitter user @JackMccumiskey said: “Am I alone in being disappointed that the plane wasn’t in the air when they threw her off?”
Another comment read: “Why is her face covered up. She doesn’t deserve anonymity”
But @TheRealMo777 wondered: “So… I certainly despise that word, but how does it get you kicked off a plane?”
This is not the first time Southwest Airlines has been in headlines over racial issues.
As noted by Newsweek, last month, a former staffer filed a lawsuit claiming his ex-co-workers had created a “whites-only” break room at Hobby airport in Texas, and in May, a ticket counter worker allegedly asked California women’s basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb to “prove” that her son was related to her.”
“She said [it was] because we have [a] different last name. My guess is because he has a different skin color,” Gottlieb tweeted.
Following that incident, the airline said: “Our employees are well regarded for their hospitality and we always strive for the best experience for anyone who entrusts us with their travel.”