A Southwest Airlines passenger became a widow last month while in the air. The Wisconsin woman says Southwest Airlines wouldn’t allow her to make an emergency phone call after she received a text from her husband, according to the Huffington Post.
Karen Momsen-Evers says the alarming text came just moments before her flight from New Orleans to Milwaukee was set to take off. Her husband sent a message asking her for forgiveness because he was about to kill himself. She knew the text was serious because her husband had been very stressed recently. She did manage to text him back, immediately saying, “No.”
Momsen-Evers told WTMJ-4 News that while making her final check, a flight attendant told the woman to turn the phone off or put it in airplane mode. Then she slapped the phone down. Even when she explained the situation, the flight attendant cited Federal Aviation Administration regulations to her.
After the flight reached cruising altitude, she explained what was going on to another attendant. She even begged her to somehow get an emergency call out, but that attendant also said there was nothing she could do.
Momsen-Evers says she sat crying in her seat for the next two hours. When she arrived at the gate in Milwaukee, she immediately called the police. Upon arriving home, officers informed her that her husband committed suicide.
A spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines explained why the two flight attendants wouldn’t let Momsen-Evers use her phone.
“Our flight attendants are responsible for executing safety procedures to prepare a flight for departure and arrival, in accordance with FAA regulations, while assisting the up to 100-plus passengers onboard. Southwest Airlines transports more than 100 million customers a year and it’s not uncommon for our crews to assist passengers with life events. In each situation, our employees utilize their training to handle a wide variety of situations to the best of their ability.”
Southwest Airlines issued a statement about the incident.
“Our hearts go out to the family during this difficult time. Flight attendants are trained to notify the Captain if there is an emergency that poses a hazard to the aircraft or to the passengers onboard. In this situation, the pilots were not notified.”
Momsen-Evers said Southwest Airlines’ statement almost seems to make it worse because she is thinking something could have been done so the outcome would have been different.
Do you think Southwest Airlines should be blamed for Momsen-Evers’ husband’s suicide?
[Image via Dylan Ashe/Flickr]