An Alaska Airlines passenger claims he was forcibly separated from his partner to accommodate a straight couple who wanted to sit together on the flight. Here’s his story.
Alaska Airlines is being slammed after being accused of discriminatory behavior toward a gay couple. It began when West Hollywood restaurant owner, David Cooley, took to social media to share his complaints about how he was allegedly treated on a flight from JFK in New York to LAX in Los Angeles. David revealed that his partner and traveling companion was asked by a flight attendant to move from premium seating to coach seating on the flight because a couple wanted to sit together. “I explained that we were a couple and wanted to sit together,” David wrote. “[My partner] was given a choice to either give up premium seating and move to coach or get off the plane.”
David and his partner decided to leave the flight to avoid humiliation, but he made sure to air his grievances afterward. “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,” he concluded. “e will never be flying Alaska Airlines or their recently purchased Virgin Airlines Group ever again.” Alaska Airlines caught wind of the accusations on Twitter and responded to David, asking him to send over the best contact information.
When others began calling out the airline on social media, there was yet another response. “We are truly sorry this event occurred,” Alaska Airlines tweeted. “We mistakenly booked two people in one seat. I can assure you we are an inclusive airline and hold a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind in our workplace.” Eventually Alaska Airlines began replying to dozens of users who complained, insisting that this mishap had nothing to do with discrimination, and was simply the result of a full flight and seating error.
.@AlaskaAir I have never been so discriminated against while traveling before. I was removed from an Alaska Airlines flight # 1407 from John F. Kennedy Airport to LAX to give preferential treatment to a straight couple. #LGBTQ #AlaskaAir #JFK #discrimination pic.twitter.com/Os9JWM4aQt
— David Cooley (@DavidCooleyLA) July 29, 2018
We apologize! This was an honest mistake. We have been in contact with Mr. Cooley to make this right. We are committed to providing an inclusive environment and we have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind. -Jordan
— Alaska Airlines (@AlaskaAir) July 31, 2018
“We are working with Mr. Cooley to make this right,” one tweet from July 31 read. “This was an honest mistake and we are very sorry!” David has not publicly commented again on the matter or revealed any conversations he’s had with the airline.