SouthWest Airlines - SouthWest Boot Sober Passenger
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- "Flight 657 (New Orleans to Houston) was delayed; there was about 15-20 minutes between departing 657 and boarding flight 3506 (the connecting flight to Philadelphia). The arriving/departing gates were in close proximity. I decided to use the bathroom and then, with my colleague, went to Buffalo Wild Wings for a beer, to go. The bar attendant put it into a clear plastic cup and we walked across to the boarding gate.
"I sat with my daughter and we both fiddled with our cell phones as they charged. I approached the counter to inquire if flight 3506 had been delayed and to verify that we were at the correct gate. Many passengers' gates were changed (last minute), and the personnel looked frustrated in dealing with the overcrowding and standby situations. I struggled to limp to the counter because of leg pain. When I approached the counter, [the Southwest Customer Service representative] stated that our flight would be boarding in 10 minutes, however I would not be allowed to fly. I actually thought she was joking.
"She stated that I was drunk. I asked her if she was kidding. I offered to recite the Gettysburg address or to say the alphabet backwards. She asked me if I was on any medication. I disclosed that the only medication I take was for ADHD. She remarked that that medication should not be mixed with alcohol ... She handed me a piece of paper with writing on it and instructed that I take it to the Hilton and that they would give me a room. She also questioned if I wanted her to call the cops. I responded that was exactly what I wanted her to do.
"When the police arrived he spoke with me and informed me that the airline reserves that right to refuse passengers. He also told me that he knew I wasn't drunk but could not give me a breathalyzer, as they are only used in traffic situations. I was advised by an observer that the situation was not fair and suggested that I go to the hospital for a toxicology report for proof of random mistreatment. The hospital personnel and hotel staff were equally in shock when learning of the situation. They were so embracing. They helped alleviate the distress of the situation."
Erinn says that she called Southwest, but was again told that the airline reserves the right to refuse passengers for boarding. She also received an automated e-mail response from Southwest saying that they are looking into the incident. She says that she feels "so dis-empowered; as a patron, customer, and a citizen. I just couldn't believe this mistreatment could be legal." She says she will never fly Southwest again.