Southwest Airlines pilot caught on hot mic abusing SF Bay Area: 'Liberal f**ks, weirdos driving f**king Hyundais'
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA: A Southwest Airlines pilot was caught on a hot mic making an expletive-filled rant. The unidentified pilot was heard on a radio frequency at Mineta San Jose Airport (SJC) as the flight taxied for departure, complaining about the San Francisco Bay Area’s “goddamn liberal f**ks” and “f**king weirdos.”
"F**k this place, goddamn liberal f**ks. Like eight guns out here somewhere as it is. F**king weirdos, probably driving around in f**king Hyundais, f**king roads and s**t that go slow as f**k," he was heard saying. He then continued making several other curse-word-laden comments before being interrupted by what seems to be an air traffic controller.
Here's the audio of the Southwest pilot going on a rant about the Bay Area caught on a hot mic: pic.twitter.com/hJ2nhDeckV— I need to go to the bathroom (@BugPennis) March 25, 2021
This tirade reportedly occurred on March 13 and was brought to notice by Will Lawton, a private pilot based in San Jose who routinely listens to air traffic control chatter on LiveATC.
A Southwest Airlines spokesman did not identify the pilot but said that they are "fully addressing the situation internally." The spokesman said in a statement, "Our corporate culture is built on a tenet of treating others with concern and dignity and the comments are inconsistent with the professional behavior and overall respect that we require from our Employees. This situation was an isolated incident involving a single Employee and not representative of the nearly 60,000 hardworking, respectful People of Southwest Airlines."
The audio is archived online at Live ATC, a website that live streams air traffic control audio transmissions. Though the audio is fuzzy and the context of the remarks unclear, the pilot can be heard repeatedly cursing. Commenting on the incident, airport spokesperson Demetria Machado said, “This communication is very unprofessional, and I have forwarded the communication to the [Federal Aviation Administration].”
In a statement, FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor said, "FAA regulations prohibit airline pilots from talking about subjects that are unrelated to safely conducting their flight while taxiing and while flying below 10,000 feet altitude. The FAA is investigating communications that an airline pilot made while taxiing at Mineta San Jose International Airport last week. The FAA also reported the incident to the airline."
Councilman Raul Peralez, whose district encompasses downtown San Jose and the airport, said it was “extremely disheartening to hear our largest air carrier -- to hear one of their employees -- their pilots speak so disparagingly about the San Jose area." He added, "It's one thing to be hearing peoples' authentic opinions. I think they're entitled to those opinions. I think, in this case, this person is completely generalizing and completely wrong."
Southwest Airlines Co. is one of the major airlines of the United States. It is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The airline has nearly 60,000 employees and operates about 4,000 departures a day during the peak travel season. Early last year, a report conducted by the Transportation Department inspector general found that Southwest was flying airplanes with safety concerns and that the FAA was failing to properly oversee the airline.