Alaska Airlines is being accused of separating a gay couple so a straight couple could sit together.
David Cooley wrote on Facebook that while flying from New York’s JFK Airport to Los Angeles International Airport, a flight attendant asked his partner to give up his premium seat for one in coach to accommodate a same-sex couple’s request to be next to each other. After Cooley, who is the CEO and founder of the iconic gay bar The Abbey in West Hollywood, Calif., explained that they were a couple and wanted to sit together too, the flight attendant reportedly said that Cooley’s partner could move or get off the plane.
“I have never been so discriminated against while traveling before,” Cooley shared.
“We could not bear the feeling of humiliation for an entire cross-country flight and left the plane,” Cooley wrote. The flight time from JFK to LAX is roughly five-and-a-half hours. The couple ultimately took a Delta Airlines flight to reach their destination.
Cooley added that he would never again fly Alaska Airlines, or Virgin Airlines, which Alaska recently purchased. He also urged others to travel with LGBT-friendly airlines like Delta.
Many on Twitter shared their support for Cooley and vowed to take their business elsewhere.
I am a straight person, but I will be spending my travel dollars with airlines that don't discriminate against LGBT people. Shame on Alaska Airlines. Thank you for letting us know what happened so we can ALL make the right choice.
— murly1054 (@murly1054) July 29, 2018
Making note and will not book on Alaska air
— Jen (@onthetracksjen) July 30, 2018
How horrible to be treated this way. I will remember this and will not fly Alaska Air.
— Julia Rose (@julepeace) July 30, 2018
According to a statement from Alaska Airlines released to Fox News, the incident was the result of a seating mistake and not prejudice.
The full statement read: “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.”
Cooley and Alaska Airlines did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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