Gay Couple Told To Swap Plane Seats So Straight Couple Can Be Together

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An Alaska Airlines flight crew unfairly and unduly asked a gay couple to separate in order to help a straight couple remain seated together.

A gay couple aboard an Alaska Airlines flight say they were treated unfairly and deplaned as a result of the discrimination they faced from the airline’s staff.

David Cooley, who owns a bar in Los Angeles called The Abbey, wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post about his experience on an Alaska Airlines plane that he was on with his partner. Cooley wrote that his partner was asked to separate from Cooley, to take a seat in coach, so that a straight couple could be seated together.

Cooley explained to the flight attendant making the request that they themselves were romantically involved, and that their preferences were to stay together as well. But that didn’t seem to matter to the flight crew, who insisted they either trade seats to appease the straight couple’s wishes, or exit the plane and find a different flight.

“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 wrote in his post.

He added that their decision to leave the plane was partly based on their own embarrassment.

“[We] could not bear the feeling of humiliation for an entire cross-country flight,” Cooley wrote.

They ended up taking a different flight, using Delta Airlines.

Alaska Airlines issued an apology for the matter, calling it a “seating error,” and insisting that they are not a discriminatory company.

“This unfortunate incident was caused by a seating error, compounded by a full flight and a crew seeking an on-time departure and nothing more than that,” a company spokeswoman said. “It’s our policy to keep all families seated together whenever possible; that didn’t happen here and we are deeply sorry for the situation. We’ve reached out to Mr. Cooley to offer our sincere apologies for what happened and we are seeking to make it right.”

This is 2018, and same-sex marriage has been the law of the land for more than three years in the United States. Still, discrimination against the LGBT community continues to exist, as incidents such as this (and others like it) continue to persist in our society.

We need to speak out against these types of injustices. A gay couple has every right that a straight couple has to insist to sit by one another on a plane. Neither should have more say in the matter, and Alaska Airlines should work to ensure that similar mistakes don’t happen again in the future.

Banner/thumbnail image credit: Jason Redmond/Reuters

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