Passenger David Cooley and his same-sex partner were appalled by their recent treatment during a flight to New York when a flight attendant gave “preferential treatment to a straight couple”, telling the gay couple to swap plane seats or get off the flight.
Colley posted on his Facebook page saying, “I have never been so discriminated against while travelling before”. He described how the couple had been seated for some time before they were “approached by the flight attendant and my companion was asked to move from his premium seat to coach so a couple could sit together. I explained that we were a couple and wanted to sit together. He was given a choice to either give up the premium seat and move to coach or get off the plane. We could not bear the feeling of humiliation for an entire cross-country flight and left the plane.”
Cooley continued, “I cannot believe that an airline in this day and age would give a straight couple preferential treatment over a gay couple and go so far as to ask us to leave.”
Cooley, the founder and CEO of the hugely famous West Hollywood nightspot The Abbey, shared the incident to his Facebook friends and followers where the reaction was, needless to say, one of shock and anger.
Alaska Airlines has since admitted the couple were asked to swap plane seats and apologised for the incident, stating: “We are deeply sorry for the situation, and are investigating the details while communicating directly with the guests involved to try and make this right. Alaska Airlines has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind, and our employees value inclusion for our guests and each other.”
While they went on to try and explain the flight attendant’s actions with the statement: “When boarding flight 1407 from JFK to LAX, a couple was mistakenly assigned the same seats as another couple in Premium Class. We reseated one of the guests from Premium Class in the Main Cabin,” they failed to prove why preference was given to the straight couple.
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