Actress Leisha Hailey Kicked Off Southwest Flight for Kissing Her Girlfriend
Actress Leisha Hailey of The L Word got booted off a Southwest flight for kissing her girlfriend. Not cool, Southwest.
Confession: Southwest Air baffles me. On the one hand, their prices are low and there’s no fee for checked baggage, which is awesome. But on the other hand, they seem to be awfully good at alienating their customers, and that… is a little weird. Remember that incident last year when they told Kevin Smith he was too fat to fly? And then that other incident not quite a month ago when Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong got booted off a flight because his pants were too baggy? Well, Southwest has struck again: On Monday, former The L Word actress Leisha Hailey got kicked off of a plane for kissing her girlfriend.
What exactly happened? Hailey struck back via Twitter immediately, so much of what we know came from her Twitter feed: “I have been discriminated against by @SouthwestAir,” she said. “Flt. Attendant said that it was a ‘family’ airline and kissing was not okay.”
Southwest. That’s the STUPIDEST THING I HAVE EVER HEARD. Every airline except maybe the Hooters airline is a family airline. And kissing someone in public wasn’t illegal the last time I checked, even on family airlines.
The airline issued a statement late on Monday night that claimed, “Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive.” Okay, I’ll bite; if enough people were complaining, yeah, maybe that would be reason enough to ask someone to tone it down a bit. But “excessive” is a tricky word, and “indicate” is an even trickier one. Without details, you’re riding on really shaky ground, and Southwest has notably not provided any details. What was so “excessive” about what was going on? Do the reports just “indicate” that it was happening? Or did it actually happen? In short: What the hell, Southwest?
Hailey and her girlfriend, Camila Grey, were apparently escorted off the plane only after they got upset over the issue. According to Southwest, “The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight,” so it’s possible that Hailey and Camila could have gotten through the flight had they not challenged the “no kissing” policy; but I don’t blame them for speaking up. Because what else are you going to do? Just lie down and take it? I think not.
What I really don’t get is why Southwest has developed such an impressive track record when it comes to pissing off their customers. Here’s the thing, Southwest: Unless someone’s behavior is severely disrupting a flight, you have no right to shove your values on them. This goes for everything from bagginess of pants to expressions of affection. It doesn’t sound like Hailey and her girlfriend were having wild monkey sex on the plane; to be honest, it doesn’t even sound like they were doing anything other than behaving how all couples in love behave. So seriously, Southwest. Don’t get your panties in a twist. Twisted panties are really uncomfortable and they make you cranky—and when you get cranky, you make everyone else around you cranky too. Nobody wins. So just chill out.
In the aftermath of the incident, Hailey posted the following question to Twitter: “Since when is showing affection towards someone you love illegal? I want to know what Southwest Airlines considers as ‘family.’ I know plenty of wonderful same sex families I would like to introduce them to.” Southwest, meanwhile, followed up with the exceedingly vague statement, “We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling ‘short of their expectation.” I don’t even know what that means. Why would you need to work with someone in order to offer them an apology? That’s not how it works. Apologies are quite simple: You offer them. End of story. Then it’s up to the people to whom you offer them to either accept or reject them.
Oh, and guess what? Hailey Tweeted that she has recorded evidence of the incident: “Did I mention to @SouthwestAir that I have a lot of their actions recorded on audio and video?” How do you like them apples, Southwest?
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.