Alaska Airlines Apologizes for Asking Gay Couple to Separate

Two men were told to move so a straight couple could sit together
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2018 5:30 PM CDT
Alaska Airlines Apologizes for Asking Gay Couple to Separate
An Alaska Airlines plane taxis.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren,File)

Alaska Airlines has issued an apology amid widespread outrage that stemmed from an incident in which a flight crew reportedly appeared to favor a straight couple over a gay couple. Per the New York Times, David Cooley, owner of West Hollywood gay bar The Abbey, was preparing to fly to New York from Los Angeles when a member of the crew asked his partner to move from his seat "so a couple could sit together." That's according to Cooley's account of Sunday's events, which he posted about in a lengthy Facebook post that has been shared by thousands. "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," Cooley wrote. They chose to leave the flight. In the ensuing days, nationwide backlash prompted Alaska Airlines' response on Tuesday.

“This unfortunate incident was caused by a seating mix-up on a full flight. It’s our policy to keep all families seated together whenever possible. That didn’t happen here. We are sorry for the situation and did not intend to make Mr. Cooley and his partner feel uncomfortable in any way," the airline's statement said, in part. Per the Seattle Times, Cooley tweeted on Tuesday that he's accepted the apology. "Thank you to everyone for all the support. @AlaskaAir has reached out, apologized, and we are discussing making things right," he wrote. (More Alaska Airlines stories.)

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