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Southwest Airlines idly allows a man to commit suicide (VIDEO)

Southwest Airlines idly allows a man to commit suicide

According to NBC, a Southwest Airlines passenger from Wisconsin was aboard a Southwest flight bound for Milwaukee from New Orleans when she received a text message from her husband saying that he was about to commit suicide.

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2007 at McCarran International Airport, Boeing 737 of Southwest Airlines at McCarran International Airport, Files from BriYYZ Flickr stream

Shortly after Karen Momsen-Evers, the wife, boarded the plane she received the text message from her husband, she then attempted to phone her husband to try to intervene. However, when she tried to call her husband, a Southwest flight attendant stopped her by “slapp[ing] the phone down and [saying], ‘You need to go on airplane mode now.’”

When Momsen-Evers tried to explain the situation to the flight attendant she quoted FAA regulations for her decision to not allow the call to go forward.

Once Momsen-Evers landed in Milwaukee she was informed that her husband had died from committing suicide.

According to a statement released by Southwest, “flight attendants are trained to notify the captain if there is an emergency that poses a hazard to the aircraft or to the passengers on-board,” it continued on to say that “in this situation, the pilots were not notified.”

Momsen-Evers believes that the phone call could have potentially saved her husband from committing suicide. Southwest did release intheir statement saying that “our hearts go out to Mrs. Momsen-Evers.”

The problem I see with this is, I know rules are rules, but you should without a second of hesitation allow a passenger to make an emergency phone call like that. Mrs. Momsen-Evers told them the reason for the phone call, it would have been the moral thing to allow her a quick five minute phone call. If the phone call then extended beyond a reasonable time, the passenger should be given the chance to disembark and handle it as best as they can. Lets be honest, most of the time we see flight attendants using their phones (whether on/off airplane mode), and other annoying passengers just talking about useless nonsense even after the aircraft pulls away from the gate.

Clearly, there should be some sort of exception here. Southwest, could have, potentially, saved a life. Quite disappointed by this news. Southwest’s flight attendant should be ashamed and the airline should take appropriate action against the flight attendant as well as training flight attendants to handle these sort of scenarios.

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  1. I think one can argue about whether Southwest’s employees acted appropriately (it’s a really tough situation with no easy answers), but the headline is a cheap shot and really unfair. It makes it sound like Southwest flight attendants merely stood around while somebody committed suicide in front of them. The reality was very different, and it is highly unlikely there was anything Southwest employees or the man’s wife could have done to prevent the suicide. The man likely timed his act at the precise moment when his wife would be least able to do anything – just before her flight took off.

    1. Your response is a mass of postulates to excuse the airline, and indicates lack of concern and knowledge of suicide episodes. “Highly unlikely” is not “impossible”, and with human life such an attitude is untenable. In a case of potential suicide hearing the voice of someone concerned is frequently enough to change or delay the situation enough for help ro arrive. The attendants did not want to do anything to jeopardize their own positions, which are highly unstable with low-cost carriers like Southwest, and consequently discounted the woman’s concerns and did nothing. This is the second time in a month Southwest flight attendants have put their convenience ahead of others’ safety; a man recently had a heart attack on a Southwest flight and the staff treated him as a problematic customer rather than someone who was really ill. That case is now the subject of a lawsuit, and this should be as well. Southwest’s response so far to this woman has been to say their hearts go out to her fo her loss and to offer a refund for her flight, which is sickeningly ridiculous. The “reality” was this woman, who knew her husband better than the flight attendants, had two hours of unknowing horror in the air before she found out upon landing her worst fears were confirmed. The attendants _did_ stand around knowing – and not believing – that a man was killing himself at their destination. What callous stupidity.

  2. What a disgrace and shame for that dogmatic and heartless attendant and for Southwest! I have been on many a flight where an attendant seems to take a morbid pleasure in being a witch on some kind of vindictive anger trip. It is very typical to have the “fasten seatbelt” light on for 45 minutes as bladders are about ready to burst with nurse Ratched attendants preventing even people with medical issues from taking care of themselves.
    Using the apologist above’s rationale that “the suicide likely could not have been prevented anyway” just takes the cake – sounds like he is part of the industry.
    I have always had a decent impression of Southwest, but I will now be wary of them.

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