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Airline kicks two women off flight for ‘yelling’ at passengers to move seats

Southwest Airlines appeared to remove two women from a flight last month for “yelling” at fellow passengers to give them aisle seats.

The flight from Sacramento to San Diego had already been delayed by two hours when the women boarded, according to a witness who filmed the latter stages of the incident and published it on TikTok.

A flight attendant can be heard telling the younger of the women: “We have families, we have little kids, we can’t have nobody yelling.”

When the passenger replies that she was “just trying to make an announcement”, another flight attendant asks her and her companion to “step out onto the jetway”.

The passenger says that she and her companion will “just go sit down”, adding that: “She can just cry and scream on the plane. She’s going to grab onto you and she’ll cry.”

She appears to say this in jest and both woman move calmly to their seats, but a third flight attendant informs them that they must leave the plane, saying: “If you’re going to say things like that then we can’t have you on the flight.”

Southwest Airlines operates a first-come, first-served seating policy on its flights.

In January the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) announced a zero tolerance policy regarding “unruly passengers”, warning the public that those who cause disturbances on flights or fail to follow flight crew instructions can be subject to fines and even prison time.

There are serious penalties for “disruptive passenger behaviour” here in the UK too.

Being drunk on an aircraft carries a maximum fine of £5,000 and two years in prison, while the prison sentence for endangering the safety of an aircraft is up to five years.

Disruptive passengers may also be asked to reimburse the airline for the cost of a diversion if their behaviour caused the aircraft to land at a different airport. Diversion costs typically range from £10,000 – £80,000 depending on the size of the aircraft and where it diverts to.

A recent survey by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), America’s largest flight attendant union, found that 84 per cent of the 5,000 flight attendants surveyed have dealt with unruly passengers this year.

Seventeen per cent of them have experienced a physical incident with a passenger.

The Independent has approached Southwest Airlines for comment.

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