Southwest Establishes Rules, Training For Dealing With Angry Passengers

By Scott McCartney, The Wall Street Journal

Southwest Airlines gives flight attendants detailed training in how to resolve conflicts and deal with disruptive passengers and a long list of rules on what kind of behavior gets you kicked off a flight, from abusive language to lewd clothing to being odorous, drunk or barefoot. But the airline doesn’t think it is quicker to boot passengers than others.

It does seem to keep happening, however. Last week, “L Word’’ actress Leisha Hailey was removed from a flight when a dispute erupted after she kissed her girlfriend, Camila Grey. Last month, Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong was removed after refusing to pull up his long-hanging pants. Last year, star director Kevin Smith was removed from a flight after the airline alleged he didn’t fit into a single seat. And don’t forget Kyla Ebbert, who found herself on national television modeling the short skirt and skimpy top that almost got her bounced off a flight in 2007 when a flight attendant insisted on outfit adjustments.

Southwest doesn’t have specific rules or requirements for passenger dress or conduct and leaves issues to the discretion of its flight attendants, according to David Curry, senior director of operational training. But the carrier’s “contract of carriage’’ – the legal rules attached to every ticket – does have a long list of reasons that Southwest can remove passengers from flights.