A gay couple from Florida say they were discriminated against by a Southwest Airlines gate agent when they were denied access to pre-board with their three young children.
The purported incident happened Sunday on a flight from Buffalo, NY to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Grant Morse and his husband, Sam, along with their three children and Grant’s mother, were in line to pre-board when a Southwest agent allegedly stepped out in front of them and said: “This is for family boarding only.”
Speaking to WGRZ, Morse explains:
I feel as though we were profiled the minute we walked up the boarding area. This gate agent immediately approached my spouse and said this is for family boarding only, and my spouse looked up and said, ‘Well, we are a family. It’s myself, my spouse, and our three children.’ She said it’s family boarding only and got very sarcastic.
Morse says this is the first time anything like this has ever happened to him.
When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Southwest pointed to the airline’s official “family boarding policy,” which indicates that only one adult can board with any traveler who is “six years old or younger.”
But Morse says the vague language of the family boarding policy is not the issue. It was how the gate agent told him “only families” were permitted, as if to imply his family somehow didn’t count.
To add insult to injury, he says, Southwest sat his 83-year-old mother, who he describes as “frail,” in an emergency exit seat instead of next to him. The Southwest spokesperson said if his mother needed additional assistance, they should have requested that before hand.