Unfriendly skies

Gay couple forced to give up seats on Alaska Airlines flight to accommodate straight couple

A man and his partner say they were forced to separate on an Alaska Airlines flight in order to accommodate a straight couple who wanted to sit together.

Restaurant owner David Cooley took to Facebook over the weekend to explain his side of the story.

He says he and his parter were flying from New York to Los Angeles. They had purchased two premium class seats next to each other. After settling into their assigned seats, a flight attendant approached.

Cooley writes:

My companion was asked to move from his premium seat to coach, so a [heterosexual] 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 have never been so discriminated against while traveling before. I was removed from an Alaska Airlines flight # 1407…

Posted by David Cooley on Sunday, July 29, 2018

Cooley says he’s “never been so discriminated against while traveling before.”

“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,” he writes.

So far, Cooley’s post has received over 100 comments and nearly 800 shares.

In a statement, Alaska Airlines acknowledges that it did take place and that it’s looking into the matter:

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.

Related: This man can’t become an airline pilot because he’s HIV-positive