A gay nightclub owner says he and his partner were forced to separate on an Alaskan Airlines flight so a straight couple could sit together.


Gay couple says Alaska Airlines attendants discriminated against them

Alaska Airlines acknowledged the incident and said the company is investigating.


Kris Seavers


Posted on Jul 30, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 9:51 am CDT

A gay club owner says Alaska Airlines attendants discriminated against him and his partner by forcing them to separate so a straight couple could sit together on the plane.

Towleroad reports that David Cooley, who owns Los Angeles nightclub The Abbey, wrote about the incident on Facebook on Sunday. Cooley says he and his partner had already settled into their assigned premium seats when his companion “was asked to move from his premium seat to coach.”

“I explained that we were a couple and wanted to sit together,” Cooley wrote. “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.”


Cooley added: “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.”

According to the post, Cooley and his partner traveled from New York to Los Angeles via Delta instead.

“If you are an #LGBT person, please spend your travel dollars with an LGBT friendly airline like Delta,” he wrote.

In a statement to Gay Star News, a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines said the two couples were assigned the same seats in the premium class and that one guest was “reseated” to 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,” the statement said. “Alaska Airlines has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind, and our employees value inclusion for our guests and each other.”


H/T Towleroad

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*First Published: Jul 30, 2018, 9:56 pm CDT