A pilot for Southwest Airlines triggered one customer — who happened to be an Associated Press reporter — on Friday after saying “Let’s go, Brandon” over the plane’s intercom system.
Over the last month, “Let’s go, Brandon” has become a national chant to express opposition to President Joe Biden.
The incident on the Southwest Airlines flight took place Friday morning.
“On Friday morning on a Southwest flight from Houston to Albuquerque, the pilot signed off his greeting over the public address system with the phrase, to audible gasps from some passengers,” the AP reported.
A TikTok video showed exactly what the pilot said.
“We’re heading east at about seven or eight miles per hour. Clear visibility, mostly clear skies, about 77 degrees,” the pilot said. “Thanks for coming out and flying Southwest Airlines, welcome aboard, and remember, ‘Let’s go, Brandon.'”
What was the reaction?
The AP reporter who heard the anti-Biden remark admitted she was almost removed from the plane when she tried to gain access the flight deck to ask the pilot about his remark.
“[That feeling when] you’re trying to go on vacation and then the pilot says the very thing you’re working on over the loud speaker and you have to try to get him comment but then almost get removed from plane,” reporter Colleen Long said. “Also in defense of airline I was asking them to open locked cock pit and probably sounded insane!”
Meanwhile, Juliette Kayyem, a Harvard professor and CNN analyst, demanded that every passenger on the plane file a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration.
‘If @SouthwestAir doesn’t do anything, every passenger on that flight has standing to file a complaint with the @FAANews and they should do so. Southwest will then be compelled to investigate or defend him. Have fun with that,” Kayyem reacted. “No messing around in the air. Bright line rule.”
“Unlike some of you, I’m not saying he should fired. Only that there should be investigation. For all we know he was making fun of it,” she added. “Either way — bad joke or asshole — it cannot go unaddressed lest it opens up other pilots to harangue passengers.”
Kayyem even suggested the pilot’s remark “reflect[s] possibility of anger management or substance abuse.” She did not provide evidence to back her claim.
What did Southwest say?
Southwest Airlines released a general statement saying the airline does not condone “divisive or offensive” behavior, but did not say anything specific about the incident.
“Southwest Team takes pride in providing a welcoming, comfortable, and respectful environment for the millions of Customers who fly with the airline each year and behavior from any individual that is divisive or offensive is not condoned,” the statement said.