The Southwest pilot in the Bay Area took leave after alleged assault, masking ‘dispute’ with stewardess

Photo by Joshua Bote

FILE: A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 aircraft seen at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.

FILE: A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 aircraft seen at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Alex Tai / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

A Southwest pilot is subjected to assault and battery charges following an alleged altercation with a corporate stewardess at a hotel in the Bay Area.

The alleged attack, reported Tuesday by USA Today, took place on October 18 at an unidentified hotel bar in San Jose, where pilots and flight attendants were staying between flights. After what a spokesman for San Jose police told the newspaper was “a disagreement over mask wearing or masks,” the pilot was charged with assault and battery. A police spokesman did not respond to a request for comment from SFGATE.

The pilot is currently on leave and the company is conducting an investigation, a spokesman for the airline told USA Today, but did not give further details about the alleged attack. A call to Southwest for comment was not returned.

In recent weeks, Southwest pilots have been at the center of a political firestorm. A pilot during a recent flight allegedly used the phrase “Let’s Go, Brandon” over the cabin’s PA system, a slogan criticizing President Joe Biden, who is popular in right-wing circles. And in October, hundreds of flights were delayed, prompting many conservative commentators to blame the airline’s recent COVID-19 vaccine mandate for staff shortages.

The Southwest Stewards’ Trade Union, TWU Local 556, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from SFGATE.

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