Entitled Dad Claims Airline Deplaned Family Over Twitter Complaint

By  | 

duffwatson Southwest Airlines tweet 2Marketing executive and epic douche-bag Duff Watson says he will never fly Southwest Airlines again after claiming that he and his two children were removed from a flight and refused reentry until he removed an negative tweet from his Twitter account. Call me crazy, but I’m guessing there is way more to this story than what’s being reported. According to CBS Local: 

“Duff Watson says he was asked to de-board a flight from Denver to Minneapolis with his two kids on Sunday after an agent didn’t like a tweet he wrote about her service.

Watson and the agent had a disagreement before boarding initially.

“I was left, you know, very upset, very embarrassed, very humiliated,” Watson said.
He’s an “A-List” passenger, which means he gets priority boarding. But a gate agent wouldn’t let his 6-year-old and 9-year-old board with him — so they’d all have to wait to board later.
“In leaving I said, you know, ‘Real nice way to treat an A-list. I’ll be sure to tweet about it,’” he said.

And that’s just what Watson did.
“Something to the effect of, ‘Wow, rudest agent in Denver. Kimberly S, gate C39, not happy @SWA,’” he said.
Soon after getting to their seats, the family of three was asked to leave the plane.

“[She said] her safety feels threatened at this point because of what I tweeted,” Watson said.”

Even as reported, I think the whole situation is ridiculous. Only the dad had “A-List” status (aka the most pretentious name for priority flyers ever), so I can understand why the kids weren’t allowed to board early. Was the agent rude? Who knows, but this guy sounds like the biggest pain in the ass ever, so I’m sure she was just doing her job. Naming her directly and telling his followers exactly where to find her seems petty, if you ask me. And a cursory glace at Watson’s Twitter account tells me he is the king of petty Twitter complaints.

But as douchey as this dude is, forcing him and his kids off the plane is a crazy overreaction, and if it’s true, I’m not sure what they expected to accomplish. Yes, Watson did eventually delete the tweet, but he’s a professional trouble maker, and the stink he’s caused over this is way worse than anything that would have happened if they had just ignored him completely. If Southwest really did strong arm this guy over a silly tweet, they turned what should have been just another entitled voice in the darkness into a huge snafu. “IF” being the important word here.

I can’t imagine that this is the entire story. As I said, a quick look at Watson’s Twitter account tells us he’s adept at using social media as a tool to get corporate attention. In addition to his Southwest Airline tweets:

duffwatson Southwest Airlines tweet 3 duffwatson Southwest Airlines tweet 4 duffwatson Southwest Airlines tweet

There are numerous other tweets aimed at other companies:

duff Watson other tweets 2 duff Watson other tweets duff Watson other tweets 3duff Watson other tweets 4They’re not all negative, but he’s clearly a fan of trying to get free stuff out of companies through social media hounding, and he’s pretty good at it. Which makes sense, seeing as he’s a marketing exec. But pardon me for being skeptical of his story, because it just doesn’t add up. I think he’s full of it, but I guess it doesn’t matter. Southwest won’t call him on it for fear of bringing even more bad attention to the company, and Watson gets to ride off into the sunset with his lame $50 vouchers. All I know is that everyone involved in this story sounds awful.

(Photos: Twitter)


  1. Spongeworthy

    July 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    “Real nice way to treat an A-list. I’ll be sure to tweet about it.”

  2. keelhaulrose

    July 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Where’s that first world problems meme?
    Entitled dude is entitled.

  3. Elyne

    July 23, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Some people need to complain about everything(and are hoping to get free stuff with it).

  4. Erin Murphy

    July 23, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    It’s only been about a month since random KFC employees were getting food thrown at them and death threats. I don’t think the flight attendant’s concerns are completely unwarranted. Even if she wasn’t going to physically harmed who wants to go to work and catch a bunch of shit from jerky passengers when you’re just following protocol.

    • Spongeworthy

      July 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      I don’t blame her at all for feeling threatened. I highly doubt this guy was all sunshine and light before all this happened.

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 24, 2014 at 7:01 am

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. It would be one thing if he had tweeted without identifiers, but he tweeted both her name and her immediate location.

  5. falcongirl

    July 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    So, who follows this guy? I mean, he must have followers if he can get attention by tweeting about stuff, right? So, who follows him? Because if this is any kind of representative sample of what he tweets about, it sounds really boring and annoying. Help me out — what am I missing here? (Maybe this is why I’ve never been able to get into Twitter).

    • Erin Murphy

      July 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      I’m not on twitter but my understanding is your tweets are seen by people other than your followers. So when he tweeted @southwest then everyone following southwest can then see it. In addition whoever is monitoring the company’s twitter feed will see it.
      Anyone can correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Jennie Blair

      July 23, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      If you search a name or hash tag (barf, pound sign), it will bring them all up

    • LK

      July 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      From his profile, I’d expect his followers are all a bunch of other self-important marketing industry gurus, who love to lecture each other about reach and brand identity and other such bullshit.

  6. LK

    July 23, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    I observed a FB dust-up about this guy today, and a fellow “a-lister” who also has two kids, basically called 100% bullshit on the guy’s whole story. If he travels enough to be an a-lister, he’d know the protocals and when families can board, and all he had to do what literally keeping his fucking panties out of a twist for probably 5 more minutes. Yeah. Douche. And sweet mother Mary of God, can we please dispense with the INTERNET IS THE FIRST PLACE I GO TO SOLVE ALL PROBLEMS. If you try to work out an issue with a company and they ignore you, treat you like shit, etc. then OK, by all means, rally the troops, but this guy didn’t even have time to bitch to a supervisor before he was calling a woman out BY NAME? Give me a God damn break.

    • Spongeworthy

      July 23, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      That was so creepy to me. He puts this woman’s name and location out on blast because he’s feeling so “wronged”? Jesus Christ, how cushy is your life if this is a grave injustice?
      Something tells me this guys would have a shit fit if someone posted something like that about him on Twitter.

    • LK

      July 23, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      OH THE HUMANITY! What’s even the point of getting on a machine that FLIES THROUGH THE SKY if you have to be in the SECOND group to board and NOT THE FIRST?!?!?

    • Brittany Robert

      July 24, 2014 at 1:49 am


      ❤❤❤ �❤❤❤ ❤❤❤ ❤❤❤ �❤❤❤

    • arielmarie

      July 24, 2014 at 12:54 am

      My dad always says “What a lucky fucking guy,” to people like this. His reasoning: if this is the absolute worst thing in your life, making you cause this kind of stir, you must be f’in blessed as hell and you should get on your knees and thank God.

    • Andrea

      July 23, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      I never understood WTF is the big deal about boarding first…it’s not like the plane is gonna get full and then take off leaving people behind. It’s not like you won’t have to wait till everyone gets on board anyways. WHY does anyone need to get on before anyone else???

    • Elyne

      July 23, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      I suppose it could be easier for people who have a physical dissability.

    • Rachel Sea

      July 23, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Southwest doesn’t have assigned seats, so if you’re boarding later, you might be sitting in a middle in the back.

    • JJ

      July 23, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      I agree I understand it for disabled people, those with small children and a lot baby carry on stuff etc but normal, healthy people flying alone or with older children. You won’t suffer to much if you board a few minutes later everyone is getting on the same plane in the end and going to the same destination. I always secretly want to look and ask those single people at the airport who have that exasperated look on their face and have their body positioned to boot it to the gate the moment it opens before everyone else gets chance. Its like where the heck are you going buddy? Is there a fire here you need to escape right this moment by getting on the plane.

    • chill

      July 24, 2014 at 10:01 am

      As someone who travels a lot, the appeal to me is to get the overhead bin space. Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem if the airlines didn’t charge a fee to check a bag, which means that everyone brings huge bags on board. I usually only have my purse, a camera bag and/or maybe a laptop bag, but I am 6 feet tall and if I want to put them in an overhead bin, it’s good to get on before the people with huge suitcases.

      Other than that, I agree that going onto a confined space to sit in an uncomfortable, small seat watching others walk by you isn’t really such a privilege.

    • Jen

      July 26, 2014 at 2:02 am

      Southwest doesn’t have checked bag fees (I luv SW) so even when I’ve had C boarding I’ve been able to get overhead space. Not always near where I’m sitting, but still, it’s something.

      With SW’s open seating bit then I can see an issue if they all had C boarding (good luck finding three seats together and while SW is great about making sure small kids are with parents, by 9 the older kid can pretend not to know dad and sit with strangers) but so long as they had B or higher (not all As are the $15 early birds) then they’re fine. Older kid might be a row ahead or behind but they’ll be together. Or (*gasp*) Duff could have shilled out a whole $30 to get the kids in early bird boarding as well.

    • JJ

      July 23, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      But why on earth would people stand up for themselves like grown adults and directly address the supervisor at the time or write the company to complain when they can run to Dr. Internet to solve all their problems. Be sure to leave many details out about the douche tastic things you did and the attitude you had but make yourself look like a complete victim exaggerating about how they treated you sooo badly it was the worst treatment ever! I’m a victim (edits out all details of the other side of the story) please internet won’t you save me because I won’t act like a grown up and face my problems head on.

    • LK

      July 23, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      If you want mouth foaming rage support, despite zero grasp of actual facts, the internet is the place to go!

  7. Mystik Spiral

    July 23, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    If “Duff” isn’t an epic douchebag name, I don’t know what is.

  8. Justme

    July 23, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    This sounds like a case of #douchebagbro disease.

  9. LiteBrite(UterineDudebro)

    July 23, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    I used to work at Kohls at the service desk. A guy came in needing to manager for a complaint. So, I called her, and she took awhile to come back to talk to them. The whole time he’s waiting he’s loudly announcing “You know, this type of service is really concerning to me. After all, I AM a stockholder.” and “If you treat STOCKHOLDERS this way, how do you treat regular customers?”

    I wonder if stockholder guy’s name was Duff.

    • Justme

      July 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      This reminds me of last summer when my mom, daughter, and I were all staying at a hotel for a family member’s quinceanera (sp?). I had forgotten my toothbrush and ran down to the lobby to get one from reception, but had to wait behind this blustering guy and his obnoxious wife.

      They were going on and on about the low quality of service and cleanliness and blah, blah, blah. I felt so bad for the poor receptionist because she was trying her best but these people were just such ass holes.

      The couple turned and saw me and said to the receptionist, “if you don’t do something quick, I’m going to start telling everyone about the awful quality they’re getting here.” I replied loudly, “I don’t care about your room, I just need a toothbrush.”

      Both the husband and the wife looked like I had just shot their puppy – apparently they were expecting some reinforcement. I just wanted to not have rank morning breath.

      ETA: Tl;dr…..people are ass holes. I try not to be like them.

    • LiteBrite(UterineDudebro)

      July 23, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      Hopefully you were able to blow some rank morning breath in their faces.

      I just don’t get being a dick to people who are trying to help you out. Even after working in retail and seeing this phenomenon more times than I care to remember, I still don’t get it.

    • Justme

      July 23, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      There was one day that I went ape shit on a phone call with a customer rep and I felt awful afterwards, but I realized that my attitude with them actually had nothing to do with THAT person or THAT situation. When people blow up at little things with customer service, I always feel like there is something bigger that is troubling them. At least, that’s how I rationalize it to myself…

    • Spongeworthy

      July 23, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      I really think it should be mandatory to work a year in a retail/customer service capacity. Just so people see what it’s like, and maybe not treat people who work those jobs so terribly.

    • LuvSkittles

      July 23, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      Yesss! I work in customer service now and get beat up on on a daily basis. I’m probably TOO nice now to other reps!

    • JessBakesCakes

      July 23, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      Me too! I had a long wait at a fast food restaurant on my lunch break the other day, and they apologized profusely and gave me more breadsticks to make up for it. I told them it was no big deal, that I’m the one who came in the middle of the lunch rush! But I did accept their breadsticks, because, om nom.

    • LuvSkittles

      July 23, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      That’s very much deserved!

    • shoey

      July 24, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      I say this all the time!

    • JJ

      July 23, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      I would have been like ‘if it so awful why don’t you just leave and go to another hotel then where you can bitch and complain there too’. Also I love that threat of “I’m going to tell people about the service I got”. That is such a shitty threat that rarely works because most people who know these kinds of high maintenance people know not to take their word when they complain. No one cares if you tell your daughter or your neighbour Theresa that you didn’t like the service at insert business name. If you told me I would still shop there unless it was a truly big issue like homophobia, racism and it came from all the staff not just one individual person who was bad at their job.

    • guest

      July 24, 2014 at 11:24 am

      My favorite is when a customer told us they were going to “blast this all over Twitter” to their 40k followers. I picture her with like 5 followers who are her (also old) family members where she just complains constantly about everything.

    • Ursi

      July 23, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      I have never watched a scene go down where someone was loudly complaining about the service to a store employee where the customer was not 100% at fault. It seems like the louder someone is being the more bullshit their complaint is.

      I’ve only been treated poorly at a store once and once the issue was resolved I just stopped shopping there. Problem solved.

    • LiteBrite(UterineDudebro)

      July 23, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      I can say that in most of my nightmare customer cases, the customer was not 100% right. I’m not saying the store was 100% innocent either, but many of my stories stem from the customer thinking they were entitled to something that they were not.

      Unfortunately many companies will give a rotten customer the moon, and it always makes me wonder why they are trying so hard to retain the business of someone like that.

    • JJ

      July 23, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      It’s always sounds like that scene in Anchorman to me when I hear people yelling in stores. “LOUD NOISES” “AARRRRGRRRRR”. Your complaint will be resolved a lot easier by speaking like a normal, respectful human being and just calmly talking about the problem. People are a lot more willing to go out of their way to help those who are being calm and respectful over those yelling, cursing and throwing a baby tantrum.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      July 24, 2014 at 3:19 am

      I have a real hard time biting my tongue when someone in front of me is being an ass. I usually make a big show of sighing and muttering under my breath because I’m too chicken to tell them to shut the hell up and leave the poor person behind the counter alone.

    • guest

      July 24, 2014 at 11:25 am

      Whenever I’m behind someone like that I always make a point to say something like “what an asshole!” after they leave to make the cashier feel better. I always appreciated when people did it for me as a cashier.

    • keelhaulrose

      July 23, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      When I was tech support for Sharp tvs I could always tell the people who had wrecked their sets because they were the ones who called in already shouting. People with legitimate breaks usually thought they had pressed the wrong button. And because it was on the phone and I couldn’t see the tv they assumed I wouldn’t know their kid threw the Wii remote through the screen of their five thousand dollar tv.

  10. NotTakenNotAvailable

    July 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I can’t help but feel like there’s more going on than he put in his tweets. Denver Int’l is a HUGE airport, and Southwest, like any other airline, is deeply concerned about making sure its planes push back from the gate at the appointed time, lest they lose their place in the complicated takeoff line. So for the crew to risk running past their departure time, there had to have been more to this story than a whiny tweet.

    • Sherri

      July 23, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      Exactly. I’m in Denver, so I fly out of DIA all the time. There has to be a major reason to potentially delay a flight from leaving, which would then prevent another flight from getting to the gate on time, etc etc.

  11. Zettai

    July 23, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    I fucking HATE people who try to get employees in trouble over the policy of the business. Do not use the business if you don’t like the policy, but do not act like the employee is a POS for enforcing it.

  12. guest

    July 23, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    This is why old people shouldn’t be allowed to use Twitter!

    • Elyne

      July 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      Old? I really want to know what age you think is considered “old” to you.

    • guest

      July 24, 2014 at 11:27 am

      Anyone over the age of 37.

    • LK

      July 23, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      Yeah! Wait. Wha?

  13. BakerMom

    July 23, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Just referring to yourself as A-list should have been the end, another douchebag unhappy about something, no one would have cared. I have a VIP card at Harris Teeter, maybe I’m not exerting enough muscle when I have to wait in line?

  14. JessBakesCakes

    July 23, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    I really feel for that flight attendant. Too many times I have been the “jerk” enforcing company policy and “giving poor customer service” because, you know, I wanted a roof over my head and food on the table. Also, the fact that you are a customer who pays more or gives more to a company than other customers does not entitle you to be an asshole and demand special services or attention. Of course, the company will often reward their loyal customers, like the A-list thing, but that doesn’t ENTITLE him to act that way. Kind of like the “I spend THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS HERE EVERY CHRISTMAS” argument I got every other day at Toys ‘R’ Us when someone tried to return an opened video game without a receipt.

    • Sri

      July 24, 2014 at 8:38 am

      And then they demand a manager and the manager does whatever they want just to avoid a negative report, and you really look like an asshole. If you would have done it, LP would have wanted your head, though. I do NOT miss my retail days.

      I had a dude screaming obscenities at me while I was on the phone with my manager to get an override. Really nasty, mean, disgusting, personal insults, too. A few days later he came back in and apologized, saying that he sent in a really specific positive review. He didn’t realize that the coupon he had didn’t work, and he couldn’t afford the item without it, and it was the only thing his wife wanted for Christmas, and that she was very specific about exactly which one she wanted, and that he just snapped and had a rage blackout. Well, the self reflection was all well and good, but at the time of his tirade, I was very upset and a little afraid for my safety, since he kept leaning towards me, so a positive review doesn’t really make up for it.

  15. Sara610

    July 23, 2014 at 9:46 pm


  16. Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    July 23, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I mean…how were they even able to locate the tweet so quickly? Did the woman at the gate have time, in the midst of boarding passengers, to stop and look him up on Twitter? SouthWest took the time to immediately read a tweet and then contact the airport and be like, “Yo, get this motherfucker off our motherfuckin’ plane…”?

    I call complete and total bullshit on this one. The scenario doesn’t make sense.

  17. Myrna

    July 24, 2014 at 10:04 am

    This guy is like a lingering fart that won’t dispell.

  18. KatDuck

    July 26, 2014 at 2:06 am

    So “A-list” here means “I paid $12.50 for early-bird boarding for this one flight.” Not quite platinum club level…

  19. Pingback: Parents Should Be Able To Sit Next To Small Children On Planes

  20. Pingback: Special Needs Child Humiliated By United Airlines Employee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *