Airline accused of making gay couple give up seats

Looks like the skies aren’t so friendly—at least not for one gay couple.

According to recent reports, the company Alaska Airlines allegedly bumped a gay couple from their seats last weekend, to make room for a straight couple.

One half of that couple was a gentleman named David Cooley. Cooley’s known in California media: he’s the owner of the Los Angeles bar The Abbey, which has been called “iconic” within West Coast LGBTQ culture.

Cooley and his companion boarded Alaska Flight Fight 1407 last weekend. The trip was scheduled to take Cooley and his companion on a Premium Class ticket across the continental United Stats, to land in New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport.

According to Cooley, the trip turned out be “humiliating.” In an interview, Cooley said he had never been “so discriminated against” while traveling.

Cooley later wrote a lengthy post about his experience on Facebook. Cooley claims that a straight couple received preferential treatment:

“After my traveling 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.”

In his post, Cooley continued: “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.” Feeling humiliated, Cooley and his companion left the flight.

The bar owner is asking for a boycott of Alaska Airlines. In his post, he praised a rival company, Delta Airlines, for eventually taking him and his partner to the other side of America.

A spokesman for Alaska Airlines apologized, and emphasized that the company has a “zero-tolerance policy” for discrimination of “any kind.”

In a statement to Newsweek, the company said that they “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.”

The last two years have not been kind to the airline travelers. A May 2018 article stated it plainly: “These Shocking Airline Controversies Make Us Wonder If Airlines Have Any Regard for Their Passengers’ Well Being.”

Among the listed controversies: two girls were banned from boarding a United flight due to their leggings; an American airline flight attendant forcefully removed a baby stroller; two parents were threatened with jail by a Delta attendant; a dog suffocated in an overhead bin on a United flight; a woman was tied to a wheelchair on a Delta flight; a woman died on an American flight – and most famously, the forcible removable of David Dao from United Express Flight 3411 in April 2017.

Southwest came under fire in 2017 for allegedly discriminating against a gay couple. As reported by WKBW ABC 7 Buffalo, a same-sex couple with children were denied family boarding with the airline.

At the time of the incident, Grant Morse and spouse had three children. Morse told the WKBW that “a Southwest Airlines’ boarding agent and a supervisor refused to allow the family to use the airlines’ family boarding procedure despite multiple requests. Morse said he was told that only ‘one’ of the legal fathers could board with the three children.”

As reported by NBC News, “The claims against Alaska Airlines are not new to the industry. Over the past several years, passengers flying Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Emirates and others have claimed to have experienced anti-LGBTQ discrimination.”