A gay man claims that he and his partner were left mortified after Alaska Airlines forced them to change seats to accommodate a straight couple.
David Cooley and his partner were settled into their premium seats on flight 1407 from New York to LA when an attendent came over and asked Cooley’s partner if he would change seats. It turns out that the airline had double booked the space, and a straight couple who had also reserved the seat wanted to sit together. Cooley’s partner explained that they too were a couple and didn’t want to be split up. It was then that the flight attendant informed the pair that one of them would either be bumped down to coach or they would need to leave the plane.
Unsurprisingly, the couple chose the latter option.
After their onboard nightmare, Cooley took to Facebook to tell the world of the discrimination he and his partner had suffered. The post clearly reasonated with others, as it has now been shared over 2000 times.
He wrote: “I have never been so discriminated against while traveling before.
“I was removed from an Alaska Airlines flight #1407 from John F. Kennedy International Airport to LAX to give preferential treatment to a straight couple.
“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.
“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 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 Group ever again. Thank you to Delta Air Lines for getting us home safe. If you are an #LGBT person, please spend your travel dollars with an LGBT friendly airline like Delta.”
The couple received an outpouring of support on social media, with one user saying: “Their staff person who inflicted this insidiousness should be fired and Alaska should issue you both a formal apology.”
While another commented: “I’m not shocked abt much in the news these days (sadly) but this, shocking.”
Alaska Airlines has now apoligized for the couple’s ordeal, as well as issuing a statement saying:
“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.
“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.”
Cooley, who owns the popular West Hollywood bar The Abbey, has posted to Facebook that he accepts Alaska Airlines apology.
“We are discussing making things right,” he said.