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Alaska Airlines is being criticized for separating a gay couple that was flying together in order to give their seats to a straight couple.
According to various media reports, passenger David Cooley was flying from New York's JFK Airport to Los Angeles when the airline flight attendant gave "preferential treatment to a straight couple."
Cooley posted about the July 29 incident on Facebook and Twitter.
"I have never been so discriminated against while traveling before," wrote Cooley on his Facebook page. "I was removed from an Alaska Airlines flight #1407 from John F. Kennedy Airport to LAX to give preferential treatment to a straight couple."
Cooley goes on to explain that the incident took place after he and his traveling companion had been seated in their assigned seats for a while. A flight attendant approached Cooley and his companion and asked his companion to move from his premium seat to a coach seat so that the other couple could sit together.
Cooley said he explained to the attendant that he and his traveling partner were also a couple and would prefer to remain seated together. At that point, Cooley's companion was given the option of giving up his premium seat and going to sit in coach, or getting off the plane.
"We could not bear the feeling of humiliation for an entire cross-country flight, and left the plane," said Cooley in his Facebook post.
Cooley and his partner ultimately flew home via Delta Air Lines. They have since advised others in the LGBT community to avoid Alaska Airlines.
"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," wrote Cooley.
For its part, Alaska Airlines confirmed via Fox News, that the couple was moved from premium class to the main cabin. The airline attributed the move to 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. 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."
Mia Taylor is an award-winning journalist who has two decades of experience. Most recently she worked as a staff writer for...
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