The phrase was announced to some audible gasps from passengers on the morning flight from Houston to Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to Associated Press reporter Colleen Long who said she was on the flight and heard the announcement.
Long said she unsuccessfully attempted to get a comment from the pilot while still on the plane. The airline in a later statement told her that “behavior from any individual that is divisive or offensive is not condoned.”
The phrase has become a PG way of insulting Biden after a NASCAR crowd was heard shouting “Fuck Joe Biden” at an event in early October. A reporter at the scene mistook the crowd as saying “Let’s go, Brandon,” in support of driver Brandon Brown after he won his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
Friday’s incident may not have been the first time a pilot made such a declaration on a flight, as a video posted to TikTok on Oct. 11 claims to have captured another Southwest Airlines pilot telling passengers “Let’s go Brandon” while welcoming them aboard.
People who commented on the video, whose identities could not be independently verified by HuffPost, said they had similar experiences with Southwest, as well as Delta.
A representative for Southwest Airlines told HuffPost in a statement Sunday that an internal investigation has been launched into the pilot’s reported behavior. The statement said that it does not condone its employees sharing their personal political opinions while on the job and that one employee’s opinion should not be taken as a representation for all of its employees.
Biden’s impending COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers, including airline employees, has created turmoil among Southwest Airline workers.
The airline’s pilot union unsuccessfully sought a temporary restraining order against the mandate this month, claiming the vaccine could have medical side effects that could jeopardize a pilot’s career.
The airline on Oct. 4 initially said it would terminate employees who did not comply with the mandate. It later reversed this threat, saying it would work to help its vaccine-adverse workers get an “accommodation.”
These decisions came amid widespread flight disruptions, which the airline blamed on bad weather and air traffic control issues, though it’s been suggested the cancellations were related to pilots going on strike over Biden’s vaccine mandate. Southwest denied that claim.