Woman claims flight crew denied call to suicidal husband after she received troubling text message

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GERMANTOWN, Wis. — A Wisconsin woman says Southwest Airlines refused to let her call her husband after she received a troubling text message shortly before her flight was scheduled to take off.

Last month, Karen Momsen-Evers was flying back to Milwaukee when she received a text message from her husband, Andy, that read, “Karen, please forgive me for what I am about to do, I am going to kill myself…”

“I started shaking the minute I got the text and I was panicked, I didn’t know what to do,” Momsen-Evers told WTMJ, noting that her husband had been stressed recently.

Karen responded “no” to the text message and immediately tried to call her husband, but a flight attendant told her to turn the phone off.

“The steward slapped the phone down and said you need to go on airplane mode now,” Karen told WTMJ.

Karen says she explained the situation but was told it was “FAA regulations” and nothing could be done. Once the flight reached a cruising altitude, she explained the situation to another attendant in hopes of being able to make an emergency phone call during the flight.

“I begged her, I said I’m sure someone can make an emergency phone call,” but Karen says the woman told her there was nothing she could do.

Karen said she sat in her seat and sobbed for the entire flight.

When the plane arrived at the gate, she immediately called police. When she arrived at home, she was met by officers who informed her that her husband had killed himself.

Southwest Airlines issued a statement to WTMJ in response to the incident.

“Our hearts go out to the Evers family during this difficult time. Our flight attendants are trained to notify the Captain if there is an emergency that poses a hazard to the aircraft or to the passengers on-board. In this situation, the pilots were not notified.”

The airline also offered the woman a full refund.

“The pain of knowing something could have been done, it breaks my heart,” Karen said.

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7 comments

  • Todd

    I hate to add insult to injury, but I would be willing to wager the man was already dead before she hit the callback button.

  • SJ

    So she got the message “shortly before her flight was scheduled to take off” and she stayed on the plane?? Why not get off to make the phonecall? How could the fear of missing her flight keep her on it…even if she was flying back home. Some peoples priorities really make no sense to me!

    • Exstewardessjfk

      They were probably on the runway waiting their turn to take off, and maybe had already taxied away from the gate. F/A’s who act like Nazi’s ought to be fired.

    • JackR

      The rules are for the pilots to be notified if there is something posing a hazard to the plane or to the passengers. Her husband was not a passenger.
      It still might have been advisable to notify the pilots to see what options were available, but the flight attendants did not violate the rules by not doing so. Reading comprehension before posting a comment is important.

      • Kaye

        Where is compassion in humanity people? Yes the flight attendant followed the rules but when will conscience supersede rules and regulation…. someone was suffering. If she gets fired for violating government rule….is it not worth it?