September 4, 2007

Ms. Colleen C. Barrett September 4, 2007
President, Southwest Airlines
P.O. Box 36611
Dallas, TX 75235-1611

Dear Ms. Barrett,

Racial remarks and behaviors are intolerable in our country. All of us should mutually respect each other, especially in institutions of public transportation. When your flight attendant shows a racial attitude toward passengers, it negatively affects Southwest Airlines as a whole.

On July 25, 2007, Professor Chi-Yuen Wang, a professor at UC Berkeley, took Southwest Flight 473 from Portland, OR to San Jose, CA. During the flight, a young male Caucasian attendant with eye glasses asked passengers for their beverages of preference. When Prof. Wang was asked, he replied: ‘Water.’ This flight attendant then demanded: ‘Say “Please”. Prof. Wang was startled by his demand. After making sure he was not joking, Prof. Wang told him: ‘I don’t need it.’ None of the Caucasian passengers around Prof. Wang, who responded to this attendant’s question without saying “Please,” were treated with this unreasonable demand. Subsequently the attendant did not serve Prof. Wang any water nor did he apologize. So we can only interpret this attendant’s action and attitude towards Prof. Wang as being racially motivated.

80-20 Initiative, our nation’s largest and most effective Asian American cyber civil rights organization with over 700,000 supporters, hereby urges you to take immediate action to identify this offender, terminate him, and properly apologize to Prof. Wang.

One month ago, Prof. Wang sent a letter via registered mail to Southwest Airlines’ customer service regarding this racist incident. To the present, there has been a lack of response or action on your company’s part. If Southwest Airlines fails to take appropriate actions regarding this employee, then you can be sure that the 80-20 Initiative will mobilize its 700,000 supporters into awareness and action.

Your sincere consideration of our recommendation will be greatly appreciated.

Kathleen To
President, 80-20 Initiative
cc: 80-20 board of directors and supporters