Bad Airline Policy Or Discrimination, You Decide


You may have already read the story about David Cooley’s claim regarding Alaska Airlines discriminating against him and “his partner” because they are gay.  After looking into this further, there are unanswered questions.  Was this situation discrimination or just a bad airline policy?

If you don’t know the story, here it is:

David and his partner allegedly asked to give up their seats to accommodate a straight couple during an Alaska Airlines flight from New York City to Los Angeles.

David Cooley, the owner of a popular West Hollywood gay bar The Abbey, shared his story in a public Facebook post in which he alleged Alaska Airlines had asked him and his companion to move seats.

“I have never been so discriminated against while traveling before,” Cooley wrote. “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.”

Here’s David’s post:

David’s Twitter post regarding the incident.

While Cooley and his partner, who remains unnamed, were embarrassed by what had occurred, they both managed to find another flight home.

In a tweet by the airline, a representative named Dalce apologized on behalf of their airline.

“We are truly sorry this event occurred. 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,” the representative wrote.

So, was this is a case of gay discrimination or just a case of overbooking a seat?  PrideNation Magazine tried to reach out to Mr. Cooley several times and got no response.  Our questions consisted of:

  1. How did the airline know you were gay?
  2. In your Twitter post, you called your partner a “traveling companion”.  Is he your partner?
  3. How long have you and your partner been together?
  4. Are you married?
  5. What is your partner’s name?

Other media outlets basically asked the same questions with no reply from Cooley. The reason we asked these questions is because David’s Facebook profile shows as “no relationship”.    The answers to these questions would justify his claim of discrimination.  Otherwise, it just seems to be a situation of inconvenience and retaliation.

David has since removed his Alaska Airline discrimination rant from his Facebook profile  and replaced it with;

“Thank you to everyone for all the support. Alaska Airlines has reached out, apologized, and we are discussing making things right. I accept Alaska Airlines apology and appreciate it addressing the situation.”

If this was a case of LGBTQ discrimination, the big question is; what is Alaska Airlines doing to “make things right” and is this benefiting the community as a whole or Mr. Cooley individually?

Shame on Alaska Airlines if this truly was a case of discrimination.  Shame on us if we use the gay card, and shout “boycott” anytime we’re inconvenienced.

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