Southwest Fired Pilot Who Spoke in Spanish During Emergency

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 with landing gear down.
Acroterion, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a situation sparking debate, a Southwest Airlines pilot, David Legeros, is suing the airline after being fired following a dramatic incident in August 2023.

Legeros alleges he was terminated for addressing passengers in Spanish during an emergency landing. Southwest Airlines has remained tight-lipped about the reason for his dismissal.

Legeros was the commander of a Boeing 737 flight from Houston when a serious engine issue arose shortly after takeoff.

Southwest WN307 Houston-Cancun

On 15 August 2023, Southwest Airlines flight WN307 had departed Houston Hobby Airport (HOU) bound for Cancun.

The aircraft’s right-hand engine burst into flames shortly after takeoff from Houston Hobby. The first officer acted as the Pilot Flying (PF) during the engine failure and subsequent return.

Legeros acted a Pilot Monitoring (PM), and handled radio communication with ATC for the emergency landing.

According to his account, he prioritized passenger safety by focusing on communication and coordination.

Passenger Announcement in Spanish

This decision included addressing the passengers, many of whom were Hispanic, in their native language. He made cabin announcements in both Spanish and English.

The flames from the failed engine were visible from the cabin of the aircraft, which raised tensions and concerns amongst the passengers.

Legeros maintains his announcement in Spanish helped to calm passenger anxieties and ensured a smooth emergency landing back in Houston.

Despite his successful handling of the situation, Legeros was subsequently fired by Southwest Airlines.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Court Proceedings

The airline has not yet publicly disclosed the reason behind this decision. Legeros, however, believes his termination stems from racial discrimination and his use of Spanish during the crisis.

As a result, he has filed a lawsuit against the airline citing these factors as the reason for his dismissal.

The full picture surrounding this case remains unclear. While details continue to emerge, the incident raises questions about protocol during emergencies and potential biases within the airline industry.

The legal proceedings between Legeros and Southwest Airlines will likely shed further light on the events that unfolded and the full reasoning behind the pilot’s dismissal.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
3 Min Read
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