Southwest says it wants to apologize if it offends any customers, but for some reason the company is having trouble doing so in a sincere manner. Southwest's apology is undermined by the conditional wording of "if we offend." There is no "if" here; Southwest did offend. Whether the offense taken by some customers is reasonable is subject to dispute, but there is no question that some customers were alienated, and humor is therefore an inappropriate response.
Southwest is also equivocating by saying it also supports its employees' abilities to make decisions. That may be good practice in general, but in this case, a decision needs to be made. Was the flight attendant acting appropriately when he asked the passenger to change clothing? I don't know, but Southwest owes its customers a thorough investigation and a clearly stated finding.
The result: This issue is far from resolved. I have no opinion on the passenger's attire. I wasn't there and cannot judge the situation fairly. Neverthless, I know an insincere, half-hearted apology when I see one, and Southwest's mishandling of the negative publicity surrounding this issue shows the limits of its corporate culture.
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