A gay couple claim they were asked to sit separately so a straight couple could sit next to each other on a plane. David Cooley criticised Alaska Airlines for apparently making him move seats with his partner so a man and woman could be accommodated in premium class on the New York City to Los Angeles flight.
Mr Cooley, who owns West Hollywood gay bar The Abbey, ultimately refused and said he was made to leave the plane with his unnamed boyfriend at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
He wrote on Facebook:
‘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.’ In the end the couple decided to fly with Delta Airlines, which Mr Cooley praised for being LGBT friendly. He vowed never to fly with Alaska Airlines again.
The airline apologised to the couple after admitting it had asked one of them to move. A spokesperson told Fox News:
‘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 the main cabin,” the statement read. ‘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 also apologised to Mr Cooley on Twitter.