Southwest Airlines is coming under fire on social media after a video of a father and his two-year-old daughter being kicked off a flight went viral this week.
A video posted on Facebook by fellow passenger Alexis Armstrong depicts two flight attendants speaking with the toddler’s father, at which point one of the attendants tells him, “the decision has been made.”
Armstrong told local media outlet WGN that the child was crying before takeoff and didn’t want to sit in her seat.
“She was crying, she was nervous. The flight attendant had stated that he needed to calm her down or he was going to be escorted off the plane with her,” Armstrong said.
The father then asked the flight attendant to give him time to calm the child. Armstrong went on to say that while the plane was taxiing, the girl was sitting in her seat. However, the plane turned around and the family was escorted off by security.
“The child has been sitting this whole time quietly, in her own seat, when the captain came over the intercom and said we are going back to the gate, we have a customer service issue to address,” Armstrong told WGN.
Armstrong told the publication Inc in a follow-up interview that, as a mother, she could identify with the father of the toddler, and believes the airline owes them an apology.
“All I really wanted was to be seen by and apologize to this family. I am a mom and my heart was hurting for this dad. Southwest owes them an apology. I did NOT think this would blow up, I am not sure why I even began to film, I just knew from the woman’s attitude and security approaching it wasn’t going to end well,” Armstrong told Inc.
The identities of the father and child have not been confirmed.
The incident took place one month after a Southwest Airlines flight slid off a runway in Baltimore and just a few weeks following an engine fire on a Southwest jet, which forced the aircraft to return to Salt Lake City.
Global News reached out to Southwest Airlines, who provided the following statement about the encounter.
“After pushback Wednesday evening, Flight 1683 to Atlanta returned to the gate at Midway to allow supervisors to board the aircraft. Our initial reports indicate a conversation escalated on board between the crew and a customer traveling with a small child. We always aim for a welcoming and hospitable experience and regret the inconvenience to all involved.
“The traveling party was booked on the next flight to Atlanta after the original flight continued as planned. We will reach out to the customer to listen to any concerns they have about their experience and look forward to welcoming them on board again soon.”
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