David Cooley is CEO and Founder of the iconic West Hollywood gay bar known as The Abbey Food & Bar — often voted the best in Los Angeles, and where everyone feels welcomed. Unfortunately, he wasn’t given that same treatment when taking a flight recently on Alaska Airlines from L.A. to New York, reports NBC News. Actually, that would be an understatement as Cooley shared in a Facebook post, where he went into detail about the treatment he and his traveling companion experienced.
“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.”
You might expect questionable treatment by a flight attendant while sitting in coach, but those in the more premium seats are usually catered to and revered since they are obviously paying more to sit in an elite section. Not that it would be right for anyone to be treated that way in coach, but to think Alaska Airlines would do this to those willing to pay more is surprising. Even more surprising is what came next.
“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.”
NBC News tried to reach Alaska Airlines for a comment and were told by a spokesperson that the incident is being investigated. They also claimed it occurred because “a couple was mistakenly assigned the same seats as another couple in Premium Class.”
Needless to say, that explanation doesn’t take away the pain and suffering that Cooley and his companion experienced at the hands of the airline. He vowed never to fly the airline or any in the Virgin Airlines Group that recently bought them. Not only that, but he also made a suggestion that he wanted the LGBT community to take note of.
“If you are an #LGBT person, please spend your travel dollars with an LGBT friendly airline like Delta.”