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Alaska Airlines Gives Straight Couple Preferential Treatment Over Gay Couple

David Cooley founder and CEO of West Hollywood gay hotspot, The Abbey. was flying from New York to Los Angeles with his boyfriend yesterday when his partner was instructed that he had to move from his Premium seat to coach to make room for a straight couple that wanted to sit together.. It was either that or leave the plane.

 Said Cooley:

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.  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.’

 Alaska Airlines confirms the event took place and is investigating what happened and released the following statement:

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.’

Alaska Airlines did not say what if any restitution would be made.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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