A Southwest Airlines pilot was caught recently on a hot mic allegedly ranting about California’s Bay Area, ABC 7 reported.
“The unidentified pilot was heard on a radio frequency at Mineta San Jose Airport (SJC) as the flight taxied for departure,” the outlet said.
ABC 7 shared part of the pilot’s alleged rant, noting it was not broadcast to passengers.
“F**k this place, goddamn liberal f***s. Like eight guns out here somewhere as it is. F*****g weirdos, probably driving around in F*****g Hyundais, F*****g roads and s**t that go slow as f**k,” he reportedly stated.
A spokesman for the company did not identify the pilot but told SF Gate on Thursday it is “fully addressing the situation internally”:
“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,” the spokesman said in a statement. “This situation was an isolated incident involving a single Employee and not representative of the nearly 60,000 hardworking, respectful People of Southwest Airlines.”
According to SF Gate, the audio in question is archived on the Live ATC website that live streams air traffic control transmissions.
“I think it’s a good thing that the aircraft did not hear that because I would be very scared to hear a pilot saying that. Especially with everything that’s been going on,” traveler Judina Trade told ABC 7.
“I think I’d maybe be worried that he was drunk, or out of his mind, maybe,” traveler Shane Forker commented.
In a statement, Federal Aviation Administration (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 statement continued, adding, “The FAA also reported the incident to the airline.”