Southwest Trolls The Anti-DEI Crowd, Forced To Delete Tweet

Southwest Airlines is a Texas airline. It’s based in Dallas and originally only flew inside the state. Co-founder Herb Kelleher was hard drinking (whiskey) and in 1977 the airline was the state’s largest liquor distributor.

The airline got a bit risqué at times. Based at Dallas Love Field, it became the Love Airline. Sex appeal was key to its marketing. Flight attendants wore hot pants and gogo boots as part of their uniforms designed by Juanice Muse (wife of founding airline President Lamar Muse). Their automated ticketing machines were called ‘Quickies’. Cocktails for passengers were ‘love potions.’ They even litigated their right to engage in sex discrimination – the landmark ‘Love Airlines cas’ Wilson v. Southwest Airlines Co. (517 F. Supp. 292, N.D. Tex. 1981), contending that the sex of a flight attendant was a bona fide qualification for the job.

Today’s Southwest isn’t the same company, and that gets under some folks’ skin. Last year a billboard appeared along Interstate 35 near Fort Worth highlighting website calling on Southwest Airlines to ‘shut up’ about liberal politics and focus on flying.

So it’s no surprise that when Southwest tweeted a photo of an all-female flight crew, writing “Go off, queens!” people reacted.

Coming at a time when there’s an uproar over diversity hiring in aviation, celebrating diversity is triggering (though in fact it won’t ever matter for most passengers who is sitting up front).

Southwest Airlines has removed the tweet. There’s a tremendous backlash against diversity, and indeed much of what gets in the news (decolonization thinking) is outside of mainstream thinking and much of the industry that has been built up around it is bureaucratic rather than value-creating, but there is value. The backlash though comes about because of relative status games, those who favor it often look down on (basket of deplorables) those who don’t so those pushing back do so hard. It’s not about policy or diversity as much as status, often times.

And at the end of the day Southwest is an airline which means their ESGness is… limited. They’re also not at all outside the mainstream of airlines. United’s politics is likely the most liberal of all airlines. After all, they backed affirmative action in California, promoted use of employee pronouns in internal communications, and pushed vaccine mandates before they were government policy.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. More evidence of how dumb these companies are. Coming after the core demographic of their customers isn’t smart. I wish they would just stay out of politics and social agenda stuff but they hire people that love ESG and DEI. Ask Budweiser how this sort of thing is working out for them.

  2. Personally,, I think that Southwest tweet was cute. More like Virgin than other stuffy, stodgy airlines. Gosh, these Yanks have no sense of humor.

  3. I salute Southwest for their cutting edge stance on the absurd stupidity of these social media morons. They can dish it out but whine and cry when it is given back to them. By the way, what Southwest did here is in no way comparable to the Budweiser fiasco.

  4. @DaninMCI Your comment is more evidence of how dumb the “own the libs” crowd is. We’re all God’s children. even people like you, who feel threatened by a beer label.

  5. In the 1930’s the New Yorker had a cartoon showing a middle-age lady , who needed help with her just-unloaded bag , calling to the pilot : “”Oh Birdman” .

  6. Having been on all female crew flights before (happens twice on JetBlue for me), I appreciate when airlines highlight it and make it a point of celebration. I fail to see how pointing out an all female flight somehow is “coming after the core demographic” of airlines. Maybe the “core demographic” should just chill and accept progress

  7. They seriously had to delete a Tweet congratulating an all-female crew? That bites. Why can’t that be celebrated?

  8. I agree, Anthony. But don’t expect much from those who don’t want to logically think about the pathological liar they are enamored with. That whole “woke” thing is hilarious though–isn’t it better to be awake than a zombie stumbling over a cliff? The term came from a 1950s song about being aware that the police weren’t friends of people of color, and that’s all it ever meant. But then it’s easy for those who hate binge to whip up a vast non-existent conspiracy (antifa, say), or take an obscure academic discussion (critical race theory) and turn it into a rallying cry for “fighting a terrible menace.” Having created chaos, their group is naturally the only one who can bring order and save the country from these manufactured issues.

  9. I suspect the majority of people on a plane at any given time (which heavily weights the upper middle class frequent flier) are on average highly liberal in their social politics.

  10. Anthony – ok, pansy boy. Here’s your woke points.

    Travis – GFYS. Because it’s irrelevant is why.

  11. Often when an attempt is made to fix a problem, it ends up being too extreme. Racism is bad but just because a non-black person is hired instead of the black applicant doesn’t mean it is racism.

    And just because a show happens not to have one person of each minority group/sex/etc. doesn’t mean it is anti-equality.

    I try to judge people based on abilities and how they present themselves but even I find it annoying that so many shows have to change characters or insert minorities in shows where for that time frame they would never be.

    And I feel bad for those that earned their way in their positions and end up having to show they earned the position and weren’t given the position due to DEI reasons.

    Of course right now too many people get upset over every little thing and has to make it political.

  12. @rich … Well said . +1 . Also , in Hawaii , we have people of many backgrounds . One is either a good fellow , or one is not . That’s the bottom line . There have been a couple of trouble-makers who tried to cause quarrels about old history , but everyone here has more pressing needs . The Ivy university people have too much spouting-off time , actually , as do the politicians .

  13. All I’ll say is that it’s baffling how those who call others “snowflakes” are so easily triggered.

    By a picture.

    And I’m not some liberal DEI fanatic, but it’s equally wild how the terms “equality” and “privilege” send them over the edge even further. I just sit back, laugh hysterically and sip my tea…

  14. Can the MAGAs just stick with Original Intent and ride horses to get around the continental US?

  15. “Can the MAGAs just stick with Original Intent and ride horses to get around the continental US?”

    Yes plane flights are for woke **rolls eyes**

  16. because all female crews are so commonplace today, we as a society should not celebrate this? Should we then go back to Stewardesses (coffee tea or me) with all male flight deck officers just to NOT be “woke” ?

  17. @CTP – If that results in the most highly qualified people in their respective positions, yes, absolutely.

  18. “Decolonization thinking” LOL

    This is how this would go on a plane:

    “Excuse me flight attendant – is it possible to get a drink?”
    “Sir / Maam – not sure what your pronouns are?! You should have them written on your shirt so I can know! – We (my pronouns) will not be forced into your colonizing mentality and serve you!”
    “Excuse me, but I (my pronouns!) as a LGBTQIA+ POC will not be forced to submit to you weaponizing your white, female-binary privilege on me!!!!”

    *Pilot hears the conversation, understands where America is headed, takes plane down

    P.S – I thought the tweet was just…cute. As it was intended to be I believe.

  19. Proof of just how good things truly are in America if this tweet is considered an “issue”.

    Not even sure what about it had to do with DEI or ESG. Just people being overly sensitive to anything that might be. And looking for excuses to be offended. Some on both the right and left seem hell bent on being a victim and offended.

    Although the use of the word queens is overused. Wait… isn’t it cultural appropriation to use the term “queen”?

  20. As the Mom of one of the people occupying the Flight Deck, the only thing of importance here is that the people up there are properly trained, have done all that it takes to earn that seat, are in good physical and mental health to get me to where I am going. I know what it takes for these people to be up there and I applaud them for putting in that effort. But, this is what happens when we allow Politicians and Government far too much intrusion into the lives of our Citizens and our businesses and Corporations. The “Quota” system is flawed but there are few who will recognize it.

  21. Walter – the only pansy boys are the ones getting their panties in a bunch over a simple celebratory tweet.

  22. Ben, re comment on cabin makeup, I think you make assumptions. I would say there is a liberal segment that makes the most noise, and shames anyone not falling in line. But not everyone actually thinks the same. And even many democrats are highly skeptical of this over the top response of DEI everything.

    I’ve also found that people who use terms like anti-colonial are also often anti-Semitic and suffering from Tik Tok brain.

  23. I don’t have a problem with diversity. But Diversity for diversity’s sake is dangerous in certain professions. Who do I want flying my plane? The most qualified person. Man or woman, white, black, or Asian, I really don’t care, I just want to land safely at my destination.

  24. Since traditionally stewardesses were female, if there is an all male crew will WN send out a celebratory tweet?

  25. Are you a member of the lgbt?qrstuv community?? Who gives a crap!! Just leave me alone and fly me to where I’m going, safe and on time. Who you sleep with and what or who you “identify” as means nothing to me, you’re not special, just another boring human being. No attention is warranted.

  26. The anti-woke crowd should invest in a Neanderthal Airlines and post a pic of an all MAGA crew with muscles, beards, tattoos and ignorance.

  27. It is business schools that are pushing most of the DEI initiatives, but they do so for an obvious reason: it is good business. It is particularly important for international business. Being able to focus on BFOQs in hiring, rather than worrying how someone looks or whether a random bigot flying first class will have a meltdown (or will act like a jackass) if their flight attendant has brown skin, is in the long term good for business. So, the message from the business community is clear: get used to it, because we are just hiring the best people we can find (at the pay rate we offer).

    In essence, big business knows that DEI initiatives are, in the long term, good for the bottom line (it also helps to be on the right side of social justice). They are happy to tell the petit bourgeois to go fly a kite.

  28. Ironically, the photo is a prime example of not being diverse. No one cares who is working the flight. It’s just virtue signaling. It’s not going to influence the decision to fly or not fly on SWA.

  29. @Ben – wrong. The vast majority of people I have known with assets (worked with a few billionaires and pretty much all my friends are former corporate executives) are more conservative than the average person. They typically don’t like government taking their money or making decisions about what group is favored today over others. You obviously live in an echo chamber which is fine lib but don’t make assumptions about others. The voting history of the first class cabin of your most recent flight would probably send you running to a safe space

  30. “and indeed much of what gets in the news (decolonization thinking) is outside of mainstream thinking and much of the industry that has been built up around it is bureaucratic rather than value-creating, but there is value. The backlash though comes about because of relative status games, those who favor it often look down on (basket of deplorables) those who don’t so those pushing back do so hard.”

    Huh? What in the…..Gary, are you ok?

  31. Why “celebrate” an all female crew if you don’t do so for all male, all left handed, all last name Smith, etc.? We all want the same thing right: the best and brightest as crew on our planes? I otherwise care not about the DNA their parents gave them.

  32. If it took a century of aviation to get an all-male crew then by all means celebrate it.

    I’m not very enthusiastic about celebrating all-female crews but definitely wonder why people get upset about such celebrations. Go ahead and start All Male Airlines or better yet stick to horses Original Intent.

  33. Vaccines aren’t ESG, it’s comment sense. And for an airline, flying a big ass tube and having staffing issues already, trying to avoid mass illness among crew is good business

  34. I’m not sure what happened to “the board of directors”. In my time, the board were people with a fiduciary duty to be sure that corporations were doing all that they could to maximize profit/shareholder equity. We had a famous saying back then – “take care of your customers or someone else will”. Pretty simple, really. In a nation as divided as ours, then, it makes sense that if your corporation openly sides with one ideology over another, then that corporation runs the risk of alienating up to 50% of their customers (or potential customers). No business can survive halving their audience and corporate boards are supposed to course correct on a quarterly basis. What happened here? Unless your business happens to be politics, there’s no need for politics in beer, airline tickets, baseball teams, or just about any other kind of business. Express your politics at your own peril if you’re a business owner. Publicly held companies should not be allowed to do so as they have obligations to shareholders.

  35. I’m sorry that you seem to think publishing a photo of an all female crew is “woke” ideology run amuck. To me that seems like something to celebrate since it happens so rarely. It appears the anti-diversity crowd have become just as intolerant and hostile as the diversity folks they hate so much.

  36. @Anthony ok so celebrate all male crews then. Don’t make it about one side and why we should celebrate and/or support it.

    You know, like in POLITICS.

  37. @GeorgePierce people just want to fly safely. I’m sure you would want to……how about a crew of Pakistanis for diversity points??

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