Saturday, September 15, 2007

Southwest Sharia: Air Taliban 'Apologizes,' Then Insults Menopausal Women

(Right: bumper sticker)

On the happy-talk Web site of Southwest Airlines there now appears the following apology, of sorts, to Kyla Ebbert, the college student who was humiliated by a Southwest Airlines fashion cop named Keith who made a scene about her "inappropriate" outfit, which Southwest's sniggering flacks have reduced to "her now infamous mini-skirt." (See my posts starting Sept. 7):

"DALLAS, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In classic Southwest Airlines flair, CEO Gary Kelly today made a public apology to one of its Customers whose trip several months ago has become the subject of recent television and newspaper commentary. Company President Colleen Barrett has reached out to the Customer directly, and Kelly issued Kyla Ebbert an apology and invitation to again fly on Southwest as she taped a television show.

"From a Company who really loves PR, touche to you Kyla! Some have said we've gone from wearing our famous hot pants to having hot flashes at Southwest, but nothing could be further from the truth. As we both know, this story has great legs, but the true issue here is that you are a valued Customer, and you did not get an adequate apology. Kyla, we could have handled this better, and on behalf of Southwest Airlines, I am truly sorry. We hope you continue to fly Southwest Airlines. Our Company is based on freedom even if our actions may have not appeared that way. It was never our intention to treat you unfairly and again, we apologize."

Kelly took an additional step and is sharing his direct comments about the incident by recording ads for national radio. Those comments detail a national fare sale launched today featuring "mini-skirt" fares."

{MY COMMENT -- Three things:

1. Southwest offered Ms. Ebbert two free tickets in its backhanded apology. (Yeah, and second prize is FOUR free tickets). Just a day before the airline was forced to back down on Friday, its CEO, Gary Kelly, had said an apology wouldn't be forthcoming. "I just can't do that to the customer-service supe [supervisor]. He handled the situation discreetly and with patience and he did not deny her boarding," Kelly said, giving Keith the Fashion Cop the old Attaboy.

2. On its Web site with the giddy announcement about the "apology"/fare sale, a Southwest executive refers customers to the comments section, in which the following words, among others, are used by some readers to describe Ms. Ebbert: "Skank." .. "Harlot" .. "Slutty." Also, one comment on the Southwest site suggests that if women in miniskirts are allowed to fly, Southwest should supply "Lysol and alcohol wipes" in every row of seats.

3. Also, note how the happy-talk folks at Southwest, in sort of apologizing to young Ms. Ebbert and linking it to a fare sale, have in the process insulted menopausal women -- equating bad treatment of young women with "having hot flashes." I don't think Keith the Fashion Cop's problem, and Southwest's refusal to apologize till finally forced to do so by public ridicule, was a consequence of middle-aged "hot flashes." In fact, the airline seems to be equating poor corporate behavior with female middle-age. And by the way, what's with that scary Teutonic capitalizing of common nouns like company and customer?}


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