Alaska Airlines Apologises For Booting Gay Couple From Seats

Alaska Airlines have been doing some major damage control since the story of a gay couple being made to move seats to accommodate a straight couple went viral.

Two Alaska Airlines jets sit side by side on the runway, the sky behind them cloudy

The story of David Cooley, the partner of a gay man who was asked by an Alaska Airlines employee to either move from his assigned premium plane seat so a straight couple could sit together or else be removed from the flight, quickly went viral, prompting the airline to go on apology overdrive.

Cooley posted on Facebook and Twitter that he and his partner eventually left the flight as they “could not bear the feeling of humiliation”. At the time, Alaska Airlines replied with a post saying “We are truly sorry this event occurred. We mistakenly booked two people in one seat. I can assure you we are an inclusive airline and hold a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind in our workplace.”

Many felt that the apology was insufficient as it failed to say why preference was given to the straight couple who had yet to board and not to the gay couple who had been sitting in the assigned seats for some time.

The continued heavy backlash forced the airline to release a much more in depth apology. “This unfortunate incident was caused by a seating mix-up on a full flight. It’s our policy to keep all families seated together whenever possible. That didn’t happen here. We are deeply sorry for the situation and did not intend to make Mr Cooley and his partner feel uncomfortable in any way.

“We’ve reached out to Mr Cooley to offer our sincere apologies for what happened, refund his ticket and make this right. Alaska Airlines has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind. All of us at Alaska value inclusion for our guests and each other. Full LGBTQ equality is part of the fabric of Alaska Airlines.”

The apology has since been accepted by Cooley and his partner, with Cooley tweeting, “Thank you to everyone for all the support. Alaska Airlines has reached out, apologized, and we are discussing making things right. I accept Alaska’s apology and appreciate it addressing the situation.”

Whether this will convince those who reacted so strongly to the story that the airline’s apology is genuine and they are indeed an LGBT+ friendly way to travel remains to be seen.

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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