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Gay Man's Partner Asked To Move So Straight Couple Can Sit Together On Alaska Air

After boarding an Alaska Airline flight from New York City’s JFK airport to Los Angeles, a gay businessman and his partner were approached by a flight attendant and his companion was asked to change seats. 

It appears a straight couple had been assigned the same seats and the gay couple was being asked to move in deference to the straight couple who wanted to sit together. 

The man, David Cooley, is the founder and CEO of the prominent West Hollywood nightclub, The Abbey.

Dave Cooley shared on Facebook, “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,” Cooley continued. “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,” concluded the businessman.

According to GayStarNews, Alaska Airlines issued a statement acknowledging the incident:

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.

It's worth noting that Alaska Air has been fairly supportive of the LGBT community for sometime. In 2015, the airline offered several discounts that specifically timed to coincide with Pride events. And the Alaska Air website has a dedicated LGBT section.

Instinct has reached out to both Mr. Cooley and Alaska Airlines for any further details.

UPDATE: Instinct spoke with Bobbie Egan, External Communications Director for Alaska Airlines, today who told us, "I think this is an incident of human error. It was a mistake, and it shouldn't have happened."

Ms. Egan also emailed Instinct a statement which read:

“We mistakenly booked two people in one seat. 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.”

 

(h/t GayStarNews)

Comments

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Alaska is cheap on maintenance. Flight 261 was proof. Why I NEVER fly them.

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He was not in his assigned seat. I hear from my sources

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Your sources are...

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Get used to it kiddies....the Sessions Train has just begun.

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It shouldn't come down to gay or straight.  It should come down SOLELY to whoever got there first.  If the two men (who happened to be gay, which is irrelevant) arrived first and were already seated, then the second couple should have been told "Sorry, but we'll get you on the next flight."

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If these guys were already seated on the plane, then the coupe arriving after should’ve been “reassigned”, not them. So why did they make this decision??

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A lot of people get discriminate against at some point in their life; myself, for being a female, having a mental illness and now agesum... but certain groups get it daily, brutal and are way more discriminated against from the time they are born until.... LGBTQ people are discriminated against on a daily and with a brutality that is difficult for them, their family and friends to take. There are other groups who suffer difficult discrimination of course as well. It is 2018, we have all been human beings since conception. #Equality #FlyDelta 

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I know the former very gay CFO of Alaska / President of Horizon Air. And live with a very gay Alaska Air flight attendant. Alaska Air is Supportive of the LGBTQ community as demonstrated by the enormous float at Seattle Pride for the last 199 years. Save your damn outrage for the real foes. Mistakes happen and the dude is obviously a media attention hound as demonstrated by the show he hosts. I don’t deny he probably felt something in the moment, but unless the 2 guys had the same last name, then it would be a first quest to ask. 

We need to be supportive and understanding of each other and KNOW who our allies are and who is really our to do us harm. 

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What does having the same or different last name have to do with anything... married, straight people don't always have the same last name. Just asking, not understanding that one sentence.

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I will not fly Alaskan Airlines either. I was on a United flight (it was supposed to be Lufthansa) from Amsterdam to Chicago two years ago, and it was evident the male flight attendant hadn't gotten laid in A-dam. He was extremely rude to me, yelling at me to sit down before I even got my coat off. I will never fly United again either.

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Don’t try to bring another airline in this and focus on you. 

You sure you was not  the problem and the flight attendant was doing his job. 

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It's worth noting that Alaska Air has been fairly supportive of the LGBT community for sometime.  WTF is fairly supportive.  Either you are or you are not.  Maybe anytime an LGBTQ issue comes up; they flip a coin?  Heads----Gays   Tails----Straights

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That’s why I fly southwest. 

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I just flew to Seattle with Alaskan Airlines, had I known about this story I would have selected another airline.  In the future I will not fly with Alaskan Airlines.

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If only white LGBT people were equally offended about all forms of discrimination. This country would be in a different place.

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Oh god, don’t throw color into this story. Someone always has to go deeper when it’s not necessary. 

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*If only other minorities were offended about anti-LGBTQ discrimination as they are about racism and sexism. This country would be in a different place. 

Fixed it for you. 

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Really? You’re white entitlement is showing. 

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Really? How do you get that a guy named Miguel is white?

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