Alaska Airlines allegedly told gay couple to fly separately so straight couple could sit together
Alaska Airlines is accused of asking a gay couple to switch seats so a heterosexual couple could sit together.
A gay couple was allegedly asked to give up their seats to accommodate a heterosexual couple during an Alaska Airlines flight from New York City to Los Angeles.
David Cooley, the owner of West Hollywood gay bar The Abbey, shared his story in a public Facebook post.
“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.”
Alaska Airlines confirmed to Fox News that the couple had been moved from Premium Class to the main cabin, however, the airline said it was because of a seating mistake.
“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…Alaska Airlines has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind, and our employees value inclusion for our guests and each other,” the airline said.
Federal laws allow airlines to set their own criteria for picking passengers to bump, but the practice can be costly, both in damage to a carrier’s reputation and in compensating passengers.