Well, our “hometown airline” ALASKA AIRLINES screwed the pooch this weekend when a gay couple on a flight from New York to Los Angeles was forced to change seats so a straight couple could sit together.
Sadly, for Alaska, one of those bumped gays has a bit of clout…DAVID COOLEY, the owner of the mega West Hollywood gay-ish, celebrity night club THE ABBEY took to social media to complain about the treatment he and his partner received on Flight 1407 over the weekend.
Via David Cooley’s Facebook:
I have never been so discriminated against while traveling before. I was removed from an Alaska Airlines flight # 1407 from John F. Kennedy International Airport to LAX to give preferential treatment to a straight couple. After my traveling companion and I had been seated in our assigned seats for a while, we 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. 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. We will never be flying Alaska Airlines or their recently purchased Virgin Airlines Group ever again. Thank you to Delta Air Lines for getting us home safe. If you are an #LGBT person, please spend your travel dollars with an LGBT friendly airline like Delta. The Advocate magazine Equality CaliforniaGLAAD Delta Air Lines Out Magazine David Cooley
Not surprisingly, gay media quickly took up the story and Alaska was bombarded with complaints. And, Alaska quickly responded with a 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.
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.
Alaska generally gets good marks for its relationship with the LGBTQ community. It has a dedicated page on its website and has supported numerous LGBTQ groups and events including Seattle Pride based events. Alaska was at the center of a controversy in 2016 when it got bumped as a the premium airlines sponsor for Seattle Pride’s annual parade in favor of rival Delta. The “The Great Airline Gay Sponsorship Skirmish of 2016” earned lots of sympathy for Alaska and bad press for Delta and Seattle Pride who ended up accepting the resignation of Eric Bennett, the then Board president behind the debacle.
Thoughts? Are we still fans of our “hometown airline”?