MINNEAPOLIS - It's a story that's taken off on social media: a Minneapolis man said he and his two children were forced to leave a Southwest Airlines flight in Denver after he tweeted about a rude gate attendant.
Duff Watson said after 20 years of flying with Southwest, he's an "A-List" passenger, which means he has priority boarding. He said typically his kids can board early with him, but on Sunday the attendant wouldn't allow it.
"She was really rude and standoffish with me," Watson told 7NEWS. "I wasn’t trying to scam anybody, (boarding early with the kids) is what I was used to."
Watson said he and his children, ages 7 and 9, waited to board and once on the plane, he tweeted, "RUDEST agent in Denver Kimberly S. Gate C39, not happy @SWA."
He said soon after, there was an announcement to everyone on the plane.
"'Would the passenger with the last name Watson please collect your belongings and exit the aircraft,'" Watson recalled.
He said the agent told him she felt he was a "safety threat," and that he shouldn't tweet the names of employees. Watson said when he asked her for a supervisor, she threatened to call police.
"This is the part where it got really ugly," Watson said. "My kids started crying."
He said he was told he had to delete the tweet to continue his trip, and he obliged.
Watson then Tweeted:
Unreal exp. Awaiting resp. from airline. Asked for name of rude gate agent. We board. I tweet. Kids & I pulled off unless I delete. AYKM?— Duff Watson (@DuffWatson) July 21, 2014
In a statement issued Wednesday, Southwest Airlines acknowledged Watson and his family were briefly removed from the plane, but said the decision "was not based solely on" Watson's tweet. Southwest would not elaborate on what else was to blame, and said it was "thoroughly investigating" the incident.
Watson was issued $150 in travel vouchers, but said he'll be seeking friendlier skies.
"I intend to donate them to charity," he said.