A gay man has claimed that him and his partner were left 'humiliated' after Alaska Airlines were discriminatory towards them.
The situation arose when David Cooley and his partner had taken their premium seats on flight 1407 from John J Kennedy Airport to LAX on Sunday 29 July, and, according to Alaska Airlines, one of the seats had been double booked.
A member of the flight crew allegedly then asked Cooley's partner whether he could move to make way for a straight couple so that they could sit together.
When he refused, the attendant insisted that they either give up the premium seat and move to coach, or they leave the plane. The couple decided to leave the plane.
After the ordeal, Cooley took to Facebook to express his frustration and humiliation at facing such 'discrimination' in a now viral post that's been shared over 2.2K times:
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 has since apologised for the incident, and has issued an official statement, reports VT:
This unfortunate incident was caused by a seating error, compounded by a full flight and a crew seeking an on-time departure, and nothing more than that.
It's our policy to keep all families seated together whenever possible; that didn't happen here and we are deeply sorry for the situation.
We've reached out to Mr Cooley to offer our sincere apologies for what happened and we are seeking to make it right.
Since the apology, Cooley has also posted on his Facebook account that he 'accepts' the airline's apology:
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.