A same-sex family from Florida say they were discriminated against by Southwest Airlines after reportedly being denied access to pre-board as a family.
Grant Morse and his husband were flying from Buffalo, N.Y. to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. over the weekend with their twin three-year-old boys, five-year-old daughter and Grant’s 83-year-old mother.
As the family of five approached the gate, Morse told WGRZ, a gate agent reportedly stopped them, saying “this is for family boarding only.”
“This gate agent immediately approached my spouse and said this is for family boarding only, and my spouse looked up and said, ‘Well, we are a family. It’s myself, my spouse, and our three children.’ She said it’s family boarding only and got very sarcastic.” said Morse who travels between the New York capital and Florida on Southwest but his family has never experienced anything like this before.
According to Southwest’s “family boarding policy” as stated online, one adult can board with any traveler who is “six years old or younger….during Family Boarding, which occurs after the “A” group has boarded and before the “B” group begins boarding.”
Southwest stated the following, ” typically our employees allow both parents to board,” the spokesperson said. But the airline denied in a statement that discrimination was a factor:
Our Operations Agent informed two parents that another member of their group was ineligible to board under Family Boarding and asked that she board in her assigned boarding group. This conversation in the boarding area had nothing to do with discrimination, we welcomed both parents to board the aircraft with their children. The parents expressed disappointment that the Family Boarding policy was not applicable to another member of their group. The two parents did not agree with our policy, and our Flight Crew worked to save seats together on the aircraft for the family as the conversation continued in the gate area.
Grant Morse said after his family was turned away, a traditional family of a mother, father and toddler were then allowed to board together as a family.