Southwest Airlines boss issues final warning to aggressive, combative employees

Southwest Airlines chief executive Gary Kelly issued an ultimatum to warring employees following a series of embarrassing and high-profile incidents involving staff, including a pilot recently cited by police for allegedly assaulting a flight attendant because of a conflict of masks.

“The sad reality is that we are seeing an alarming increase in behavior that contrasts sharply with our long cherished North Star of following the Golden Rule, and that is more than disappointing,” Kelly wrote in a new note to employees. of Southwest after weeks of rising. tensions.

Southwest’s “golden rule” is short and very simple: “Treat others as you would like to be treated”.

“Be clear, any behavior that deviates from this deeply rooted core value of our business is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” the memo continued. “Put simply, enough is enough,” Kelly wrote.

“I’m not talking about one particular example – I’ve seen a slight increase in these issues recently, and it has to stop. Those who choose not to comply with our expectations set out in the Guidelines for Employees and Company Policies and Employee Expectations will be held accountable ”.

Last week, a memo co-signed by the chief of the pilot flight operations department and the chief of flight operations who oversees flight attendants warned employees they risk being fired for “crossing the line. in a lively conversation ”.

Kelly blamed employee infighting on “political discord and the divisive nature of current events and our increasingly polarized society.”

The airline was recently forced to open an investigation after a pilot allegedly decided it was appropriate to end a passenger ad using the derogatory anti-Biden slogan: “Let’s go Brandon.”

The alleged behavior drew a reprimand from Southwest management who reminded pilots that a Southwest plane was not the place for them to share their individual political views.

Tensions are also on the rise due to Southwest’s decision to back the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for government contractors. Southwest, however, has confirmed that the deadline for getting vaccinated will be extended from December 8 to January 4, 2022 in accordance with federal recommendations.

The delay will hopefully avoid the holiday travel chaos that could have ensued if unvaccinated airline workers were sent home as Christmas approached.

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Mateusz Maszczynski

Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the Middle East’s largest airline and flew throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centered stories. Always listening to the field, Matt’s industry news, analysis and coverage is frequently used by some of the biggest names in journalism.

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