Southwest Pilot Caught on Hot Mic in Curse-Filled Tirade

A Southwest Airlines crew member, presumably the pilot, was caught on a hot mic by air traffic control at Mineta San Jose International Airport in an expletive-laden tirade.

The incident happened on March 13 and reported by the aviation industry blog One Mile at a Time.


The audio was archived at Live ATC, a website that live streams and records air traffic control transmissions. The shocking tirade was not heard over the public address system on the airplane itself.

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According to the audio, the pilot was overheard saying:

“F— this place, g–damn liberal f—s.”

“Eight guns out here somewhere as it is.”

“F—ing weirdos, probably driving around in f—ing Hyundais, f—ing roads and s— that go slow as f—.”

A Southwest spokesperson told KPIX 5 that person heard in the audio is an airline employee but didn’t say whether it was the pilot.

“Our corporate culture is built on a tenet of treating others with concern and dignity and the comments are inconsistent with the professional behavior and overall respect that we require from our Employees,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “This situation was an isolated incident involving a single Employee and not representative of the nearly 60,000 hardworking, respectful People of Southwest Airlines. We do not publicly discuss Employee matters, but we are fully addressing the situation internally.”

FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor told the San Francisco Chronicle in a statement, “FAA regulations prohibit airline pilots from talking about subjects that are unrelated to safely conducting their flight while taxiing and while flying below 10,000 feet altitude. The FAA is investigating communications that an airline pilot made while taxiing at Mineta San Jose International Airport last week. The FAA also reported the incident to the airline.”

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