SACRAMENTO -- After hours of delays, a man on a Southwest Airlines flight from Sacramento International Airport (SMF) to Los Angeles was kicked off after he jokingly asked if water being handed out by a flight attendant was vodka.
Now, a fellow passenger says it was the flight attendant who overreacted to the joke.
“I have been flying for decades and I’ve never ever seen anything like this,” said passenger Peter Uzelac.
Wednesday afternoon, Uzelac was on Flight 478 to Austin Texas from SMF with a stop at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). While on the tarmac, a maintenance light came on.
“It’s minor but they want to go back to the gate and check it out and see,” Uzelac said.
Then the flight was delayed again. "You know, we’ve been burning fuel,” Uzelac explained.
By the time they needed to refuel, a few hours had passed. So, the flight attendants had started to pass out water to all the passengers.
That’s when Uzelac says the man next to him, made a joke.
“He said something [like], 'They should be passing out vodka because we’ve been waiting so long,’” Uzelac said.
Uzelac says the flight attendant, who he described as young, did not take kindly to that comment.
“She came by and was like, ‘I don’t think that and I didn’t like your joke,’” he explained. “Then my wife tried to butt-in there and say, ‘Look it, we’ve been on this plane for hours.’ And she says, ‘Well, so have I, so get used to it.’”
Uzelac and the other passengers were shocked by the flight attendant’s reaction.
“Then all of a sudden, I see her on the telephone up in front,” he said.
That’s when the plane turned back to the gate again and several Sacramento County sheriff's deputies came on board to ask the man next to Uzelac to leave.
“And people started yelling then. In fact, people stood up. I stood up. People were saying this man didn’t do anything,” Uzelac said.
The sheriff’s office says the man was not charged with any crime.
Uzelac says he’s filed a complaint against that flight attendant with Southwest.
“If they have this in their records, you know, maybe it will prevent this from happening again,” he said.
Southwest Airlines has released the following statement on Wednesday’s incident:
We regret any less-than-positive experience a customer has onboard our aircraft. We welcome over 100 million customers each year, and we aim to maintain the comfort of all while delivering Southwest hospitality. We will share this report with our Customer Relations Team.