A Southwest Airlines flight to Houston from Chicago was delayed nearly an hour Saturday after a female passenger became enraged and hurled racial slurs at a flight attendant, witnesses say.
According to ABC13, the woman reportedly became upset when the flight attendant asked that she put up her tray table as they prepared for takeoff.
Video taken by another passenger shows the woman cursing at airline staff and repeatedly using the N-word as she is escorted off the plane. In a statement, Southwest Airlines said a decision was made to return to the gate to deplane the “verbally abusive” passenger, where she was met by law enforcement officials.
“Our employees handled the situation professionally with grace and class, and we do not condone or tolerate such profane and unruly behavior on board our aircraft,” the statement read.
It added, “Once the customer deplaned the aircraft, the flight resumed to Houston Hobby [Airport], arriving about an hour later than originally scheduled.”
In the video, fellow passengers are heard cheering and clapping as the woman gets up to leave.
The incident is the latest in a string of controversies for the airline involving race. Just last month, a former Southwest employee filed a discrimination lawsuit accusing the airline of allowing workers to create a “whites only” break room at the very same Houston airport. The employee, Jamel Parker, also claimed he was unjustly fired because of his race.
In May, passenger Lindsay Gottlieb complained after she said Southwest employee asked her to prove her Black son was indeed hers by showing a birth certificate. Gottlieb said the employee, who cited “federal law,” then asked her prove she was the boy’s mother “with a Facebook post.”
“She said it’s because we have (a) different last name,” Gottlieb wrote in a tweet. “My guess is (it’s) because he has a different skin color.”
As for the unruly passenger, she remains unnamed and hasn’t been charged with a crime.
Watch more in the video below.