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Flight attendants union pleased with pilot's apology

By the CNN Wire Staff
A pilot's comments about crew members were overheard when his microphone got stuck during a flight.
A pilot's comments about crew members were overheard when his microphone got stuck during a flight.
  • NEW: Airline confirms apology and is reviewing its diversity and inclusion program
  • Pilot made disparaging comments about several types of people
  • Pilot was reinstated after discipline, diversity training
  • Union says it will not file federal complaint

(CNN) -- A union that represents Southwest Airlines flight attendants said Wednesday that it will not file a federal complaint now that a pilot who made inappropriate comments about crew members has apologized.

TWU Local 556 said it has decided not to submit a Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint.

"We have recognized that while this incident is not consistent with Southwest culture, it is not an isolated incident and should not be swept under the rug," union leader Thom McDaniel said in a statement. "I am pleased to report that Southwest has engaged with our union and with other employee groups to turn this negative incident into a teachable moment."

The Southwest male pilot bashed flight attendants as a "continuous stream of gays and grannies and grandes," according to a transcript of the March 25 flight over central Texas. The pilot on the Austin to San Diego flight was referring to the sexual orientation, age and attractiveness of flight attendants.

Southwest confirmed the apology was sent by Capt. James Taylor. It provided no more information on him and declined to release his e-mail sent Tuesday to Southwest flight attendants and other employees.

The pilot, speaking to a fellow crew member, used a microphone that became stuck and was heard by others for more than two minutes, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

CNN Houston affiliate KPRC, which first broke the story, obtained a copy of the pilot's apology.

"I deeply regret the derogatory remarks I made and the hurt I have caused --- I take full responsibility for those comments," Taylor wrote.

"It was truly insensitive of me and I would like all of you to know that from now on, I will show nothing but the utmost respect during my interactions with all employees."

The airline is reviewing its diversity and inclusion program in wake of the incident and will determine whether changes or additional training will be required, spokeswoman Brandy King told CNN Wednesday.

The pilot was reprimanded, suspended without pay for a period and received diversity education before being reinstated, according to Southwest.

"Please know that this event has forever changed me and I hope that others can learn from my mistake," Taylor wrote in his apology.

CNN's Phil Gast contributed to this report.