FOX 5 San Diego

Southwest pilot climbs through cockpit window after getting locked out

SAN DIEGO — A Southwest Airlines pilot had to take an unexpected measure to get onto a Sacramento-bound plane at San Diego International Airport Wednesday: he climbed through the cockpit window.

Matt Rexroad, a passenger on Wednesday’s 5 p.m. flight, snapped a picture of the pilot squeezing through the window of the front of the plane ahead of the flight’s departure, which he then posted to Twitter.

The pilot of a Sacramento-bound plane at a gate in San Diego International Airport climbs through a window after getting locked out on May 24, 2023. (Courtesy of Matt Rexroad)

The pilot had been locked out of the cockpit after a customer accidentally closed the door during the boarding process, according to a statement from a Southwest spokesperson.

” … while other Customers and Flight Attendants were onboard, a Customer opened the forward lavatory door and inadvertently pushed the Flight Deck door closed (which locked) while the Pilots scheduled to operate the flight were preparing to board the aircraft,” the statement read.

Rexroad, who headed to Sacramento after helping his daughter out of University of San Diego, was waiting at the gate, when a gate agent announced on the speaker that someone had locked the door to the plane and that there would be a slight delay while they try to get in.

“As they were saying that, (I was) looking out the window,” Rexroad recounted to “There was the pilot up on the platform, crawling into the end of the plane.”

A worker had jimmied into the window with what Rexroad said looked like the aircraft equivalent of a car door Slim Jim.

“(It was a) matter of seconds before that window was open,” he said. “It was all done incredibly efficiently.”

According to Rexroad, it was about an eight-minute delay before he was able to board with the rest of the passengers. They arrived in Sacramento about seven minutes after their scheduled arrival time, he said.

A loyal Southwest flyer, Rexroad ended up posting the image to commend the pilot and the airline for their efficiency and dedication to service that sent a pilot through the cockpit’s side window.

“Southwest … they move thousands of people every day, with millions over the course of the year, things are gonna happen,” he said. “There’s going to be bumps in the road.”

“That pilot kind of went above and beyond to go and get that plane open, so we can get up in the air,” Rexroad continued. “I thought that was really cool.”