0 min left

Florida Family Accuses Southwest of Discrimination

Chicago, Illinois, USA - May 21, 2013: Southwest Airlines aircraft on the move with the Chicago skyline in the background.

Gay couple accuses carrier of denying them during family boarding.

A family is accusing Southwest Airlines of discriminating against them after a gate agent prevented them from boarding with their three children and 83-year-old grandmother during the family boarding period. USA Today reports that the Morse-Ballachino family is seeking a written apology from the carrier after their alleged experience flying from Buffalo, N.Y. to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The family was flying on Saturday, May 20 and claim that they were prevented from boarding as a group. Grant Morse and his husband, Sam Ballachino, were flying with their three adopted children and Ballachino’s mother, returning home to Florida. During the family boarding time between groups A and B, the six attempted to get on the aircraft. According to their account, a gate agent would not allow them to pass, saying it was for “families only.”

“She very loudly and abruptly said, ‘It is family boarding only. You’re not a family and it’s not your time to board,'” Morse accused the agent of telling him, according to USA Today. “I thought, ‘Holy crud, I know what’s happening […] because before I couldn’t believe it and I was doubting it.”

Morse says he appealed his case to a supervisor, but was unsuccessful in talking through the situation. As a result, the family says that their seating was split up. While the airline saved four seats in the back of the aircraft, it would only be enough for Morse and the three children. Ballachino sat several rows up, while his mother sat in an exit row.

In a statement to the newspaper, the airline said that they had no record of the couple’s complaint. They claim that the boarding denial was not about discrimination, but instead about following published policy.

“The conversation in the boarding area had nothing to do with discrimination,” a spokesperson for the airline told USA Today. “The parents expressed disappointment that the Family Boarding policy did not apply to another member of their group.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
pdsales May 24, 2017

Shouldn't the headline be "Southwest Puts 83-year-old Grandmother in Exit Row."