Southwest flight from Chicago delayed an hour after woman calls flight attendant the N word and is removed from plane

Hope Schreiber

A Southwest Airlines passenger traveling on a flight from Chicago to Houston was removed from the plane after she called a flight attendant the N word in an incident that was captured by another passenger on video.

According to Houston TV station KTRK (ABC13), a witness reported that the woman initially became upset on the flight when a flight attendant asked her to put her tray table up to prepare for takeoff. The request, normal before any commercial flight takes off, was met by this passenger with profanities and the N word.

After the offensive response, the flight crew decided to deplane the passenger, and the woman was met at the gate by local law enforcement. Another passenger on the flight captured video of the incident and provided it to the Houston TV station. Because the ejected passenger hasn’t been formally charged with any crime, ABC13 blurred her face in the video before making it public.

Southwest Airlines released the following statement to ABC13:

“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.”

Southwest Airlines did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.

This is not Southwest Airlines’ first brush with racially-charged news this year. Just last month, a former employee filed a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines claiming that the William P. Hobby Airport in Houston had a “whites only” break room, and in May, a basketball coach for the University of California at Berkeley was asked to prove the identity of her biracial son while boarding a flight.

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