A college student on a flight from Dallas to Chicago got stranded in St. Louis when he wasn’t allowed back on the plane because of the language on his t-shirt.
Daniel Podolsky was wearing a shirt handed out at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival that promoted the Comedy Central show “Broad City.” The printed shirt read “Broad F*****g City,” with the vulgar word fully spelled out.
Podolsky said his jacket was hiding the shirt when he boarded the flight in Dallas but he took off his jacket during the flight.
When the plane was rerouted and landed in St. Louis because of bad weather in Chicago, he got off the plane to use the restroom. When he tried to re-board, the gate agent stopped him and refused to let him board.
Podolsky told KTVI he would have “gladly” resolved the shirt issue if he was given the opportunity to, such as turning the shirt inside out or putting his jacket back on, when he said, “It just happened so fast. Within thirty seconds the flight was gone. I mean I would have gladly done so.” However, the video he provided tells a different story.
“They talked to you about your shirt?: the airline employee can be heard asking him at the door of the aircraft. Podolsky responds, “They did.”
Then the employee proceeds to give him with several chances to keep his seat on the flight.
Employee: “Can you change the shirt?”
Employee: “Can you put a jacket on and leave it on through the flight?”
Employee: “Can you put the shirt on inside out?”
Worker: “Is there anything you can do to not display the shirt because at this point we can’t allow you to go.”
Podolsky: “I have freedom of speech.”
Worker: “I know you do…”
Podolsky: “Really it’s not bothering anyone.”
Worker: “I can show you in our contract of carriage that you can’t wear any shirts that say offensive…”
Podolsky: “Can we take a poll?”
There was no poll taken and he was escorted from the terminal by airport police.
When asked why he wore the shirt to begin with since it may offend people, he answered, “Well, is it really in the airline’s position to make that call? Especially when the only time you can see the shirt I’m in my little box of space. There are more than a hundred people on the plane trying to get to Chicago and the most important thing is my shirt? How does that work? Where’s the sense of priority?”
Podolsky was eventually allowed to board a 7:15pm Southwest flight later that night to his final destination of New York after he changed his shirt.
Southwest Airlines issued a statement in response to the incident, siding with their employees. “We rely on our Employees and Customers to use common sense and good judgment.”