(Story refiled to correct typographical error on third paragraph)
(Reuters) - A Minnesota man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.
Duff Watson said he was flying from Denver to Minneapolis on Sunday and tried to board in a spot for frequent flyer privileges he held and take his sons, ages 6 and 9, with him, even though they had a later spot to board the plane.
The agent told him that he would have to wait if he wanted to board with his children. Watson replied that he had boarded early with them before and then sent out a tweet that read “RUDEST AGENT IN DENVER. KIMBERLY S. GATE C39. NOT HAPPY @SWA.”
Watson told TV broadcaster KARE in Minneapolis on Wednesday that after he boarded, an announcement came over the plane asking his family to exit the aircraft. Once at the gate, the agent said that unless the tweet was deleted, police would be called and the family would not be allowed back onboard.
“We get bounced off the plane, and it turns into a completely different situation and escalated for reasons that are quite honestly silly,” said Watson, who eventually boarded and flew back home, after agreeing to delete the tweet.
Southwest said in a statement that a customer was briefly removed from the flight, and as an airline, it has no intention to stifle customer feedback on social media.
“Our decision was not based solely on a customer’s tweet,” it said, adding it offered the customer vouchers as a gesture of goodwill.
Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Bill Trott and Eric Beech