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Airlines taking heat over high-profile gaffes

June 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
From a pilot disparaging gay flight attendants to a scantily-clad passenger allowed to board without consequence, airlines are taking heat over high-profile incidents.

On a flight from Austin, Texas, to San Diego, a Southwest Airlines pilot first complained about flight attendants he worked with in Chicago.

"Eleven (expletive) over-the-top (expletive) homosexuals and a granny," he can be heard saying. "After that it was just a continuous stream of gays and grannies and grandes."

With his cockpit microphone stuck open, he goes on to detail how increasingly difficult it is to find co-workers he wants to sleep with.

"Now I'm back in Houston, which is easily one of the ugliest bases," he said. "I mean, it's all these (expletive) old dudes and grannies and there's like maybe a handful of cute chicks."

Passengers couldn't hear, but air traffic controllers and other pilots could.

"OK, someone's got a stuck mic and and, uh, telling up all about their endeavors," a traffic controller responded. "We don't need to hear that."

Southwest Airlines issued a video apology. The pilot, who has not been identified, was suspended but not fired.

The airline sent him to sensitivity training, but that's not good enough for some flight attendants.

"It's just upsetting," Southwest flight attendant Jessica Parker said. "It's disrespectful towards us as a work group."

US Airways is also taking some flak for letting scantily clad cross dresser board a flight.

He's known on the Internet as "The Terminal" and he often boards flights wearing women's clothing and lingerie.

Jill Tarlow spotted the man while flying from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to Phoenix.

"I was shocked at what he was wearing but I was also shocked at US Airways not doing anything about it," Tarlow said.

That didn't sit well with Tarlow when just six days later University of New Mexico football player Deshon Marman was removed from a San Francisco flight for allegedly refusing to pull up his saggy pants.

US Airways claims Marman initiated a physical altercation with police in the jet way and was arrested.

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