Leisha Hailey, a musician and television actor was thrown off her flight in El Paso, Texas, this week after she kissed her girlfriend and bandmate, Camila Grey, in the seat next to her.
Southwest later insisted the problem was the abusive language, not the kiss. "The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight," it said.
After days of incensed reaction from Hailey, her friends and the lesbian and gay community, however, Southwest backtracked, saying it was offering a full refund for the flight and had "reached out to extend goodwill" – a form of words that fell just short of an outright apology.
Earlier this month, the lead singer of Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong, was escorted off another Southwest flight in California because he refused to pull up his sagging trousers when asked. "Don't you have better things to do than worry about that?" he retorted. The flight attendant responded: "Pull your pants up or you're getting off the plane."
He was luckier than Deshon Marman, a college American football player who suffered his own baggy trouser incident on a US Airways flight in June. He ended up in handcuffs, under arrest and charged with trespassing, resisting arrest, and battery on a police officer. The charges were later dropped, and Marman is now suing the airline.
Kevin Smith, the film director was thrown off a flight, in February last year supposedly because he was too fat. Southwest, once again, offered "heartfelt apologies" but also said he had been removed "for the safety and comfort of all customers".