Gay couple feel discriminated against after Alaska Airlines seat incident

  • img Harvey Cawdron
  • POSTED ON 31 Jul 2018

Claims

On an Alaska Airlines flight a gay couple were made to sit separately so that a straight couple could sit together. 

David Cooley said he and his partner were travelling from New York JFK to LAX when a flight attendant asked his partner to move seats. 

On Sunday, in a Facebook post, David wrote 'After my travelling 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.' 

Cooley, who runs 2 gay nightclubs in Hollywood, claimed he had never been the recipient of such a high level of discrimination whilst travelling. 

He further stated that 'We could not bear the feeling of humiliation for an entire cross-country flight and left the plane'. The couple got a Delta Flight instead. He said '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 ever again.' 

Alaska Airlines have since confirmed the occurrence of the incident and apologised to Cooley and his partner, but have denied that it was discrimination. 

Via Twitter, the airline said to Cooley 'We are truly sorry this event occurred. We mistakenly booked two people in one seat,' adding that 'I can assure you we are an inclusive airline and hold a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind in our workplace.' It also claimed it was currently conducting an investigation into the issue and is speaking to all involved to try and make things right.