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Horrible Experience! Southwest Response is Unacceptable

Explorer C

My family and I had a horrible experience with Southwest in November. The response we received to our formal complaint is unacceptable. I will be filing a complaint with DOT.  What else can I do to further escalate this situation until it has been handled appropriately? Any help is greatly appreciated! 


I have included information from the formal complaint below. 


I am writing to file a formal complaint regarding an incident that occurred when my family and I boarded a flight on November 9, 2023, departing from Sacramento, CA. Our experience was marred by the behavior of one of your flight attendants and the subsequent actions of a customer service representative.

For reference, the flight attendant in question was a black female, with very short hair and glasses. I regret that I did not get her name during this incident, but I believe your airline can identify her based on the flight details provided. Her behavior targeted my son based on his race and disability, which is a clear violation of the Department of Transportation's guidelines regarding the treatment of passengers.

As soon as we boarded the plane, the flight attendant directed her hostility towards my oldest son. She repeatedly questioned my son about his boarding group, becoming irritated when he didn’t know how to answer. When my younger children wished to sit with their older brother in the front row, she made derogatory comments and used a tone that was not only disrespectful but also offensive. While we were trying to accommodate her demands regarding carry-on luggage, she raised her voice and became increasingly agitated. When my son requested that she calm down and give us a moment, she escalated the situation by threatening to have us removed from the flight. It got to the point that I had to ask her to stop.  

After we were seated, the flight attendant rushed over and slammed the overhead bin shut when my son tried to stow his school bag. She stood in the galley, glaring at my son and expressing her discomfort with his presence, repeatedly stating that she wanted him off the flight. 

A customer service representative, Teresa Moreno, entered the plane and instructed my son to disembark, along with everyone accompanying him. The reason for this was unclear, and despite my requests for information, she refused to provide any details beyond the flight attendant feeling uncomfortable. We were forced to deplane. Ms. Moreno was condescending and disrespectful. To add to the inconvenience, when I requested they get our luggage, car seat, and stroller, we were told it would be going to Long Beach.

This flight attendant was not threatened or insulted. We weren’t defiant and never refused to do anything we were told to do. My son was not doing anything dangerous or impeding her ability to conduct her job professionally. In fact, one of the pilots (later identified as the FO) was speaking to her in hushed tones and making calming gestures, asking her to stop and calm down.

My son has a non-apparent disability. We don’t request special treatment or travel accommodations and have never had an issue in the past. My son’s right to be treated with dignity and respect was blatantly violated. 

Our family trip, planned as the birthday gift for our two youngest children, was entirely ruined. This disgraceful incident caused significant emotional damage to my family and we were humiliated in front of a large audience.


Re: Horrible Experience! Southwest Response is Unacceptable

Aviator A

Sorry to hear that you had an unpleasant experience.


I'd sure beinterested in hearing the FA's side of this story.

Re: Horrible Experience! Southwest Response is Unacceptable

Explorer C

Thanks for your reply! I would love to hear it as well! According to SWA, she didn’t like our demeanor. I think she realized her behavior and derogatory comments were inappropriate when I asked her to please stop and told her I would record her. That’s when she decided my “Mexican” son (who isn’t of Mexican descent) was making her uncomfortable. 

I’d also really love to hear from the FO and the woman sitting in the row across from us.