A pilot in Houston was suspended after his obscenity-laden rant was recorded, in which he complained that he found none of the flight attendants being hired suitable for dating.
The Southwest Airlines pilot, whose name has not been disclosed, was speaking to his copilot during a flight in March, and the conversation was accidentally picked up by an air traffic control frequency that is heard among most controllers and pilots across Texas. The incident tied up the frequency for several minutes, blocking communication from controllers to dozens of pilots in the sky, according to KPRC News.
Here is part of the exchange, as transcribed by KPRC:
Southwest pilot: "Well, I had Tucson to Indy all four weeks and, uh, Chicago crews ... 11 out of 12 ... there's 12 flight attendants, individual, never the same flight attendant twice.
"Eleven [expletive] over-the-top [expletive], [expletive] homosexuals, and a granny." [Silence]
"Eleven. I mean, think of the odds of that. I thought I was in Chicago, which was party-land."
[Possible attempt to interrupt by air traffic control]
Southwest pilot: "After that, it was just a continuous stream of gays and grannies and grandes ... "
[Off mike from his copilot -- inaudible]
Pilot answers: "Well, I don't give a [expletive]. I hate 100% of their [expletive]."
"So, six months, I went to the bar three times. In six months, three times."
[Another possible attempt to interrupt by air traffic control]
"Once with the granny and the [antigay slur], and I wish I hadn't gone."
Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Brandy King said the pilot was suspended without pay and was directed to enroll in diversity training before being reinstated.
"The actions of this pilot are, without question, inconsistent with the professional behavior and overall respect that we require from our employees," King said in a statement to KPRC.
Cece Cox, executive director of Resource Center Dallas, an LGBT community center, cited Southwest's dedication to LGBT customers in a statement Wednesday.
Still, Cox said, "They were right to suspend the pilot, whose homophobic, misogynistic, and ageist comments to a coworker in mid-flight were broadcast over several states due to a stuck microphone. This incident is in sharp contrast to an inclusive culture that respects and values diverse employees and customers."
Southwest Airlines has a score of 95 out of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign's workplace equality index, which evaluates the gay-friendliness of the nation's top companies.