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Gay couple forced to move plane seats to make way for straight couple to sit together

Gay couple forced to move plane seats to make way for straight couple to sit together

Old Jul 30, 18, 10:32 am
  #1  
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Gay couple forced to move plane seats to make way for straight couple to sit together

"Alaska Airlines says it is investigating a mistake in which a gay couple were told they had to switch seats to make way for a heterosexual couple who wished to sit together.

David Cooley is a well-known gay businessman. He’s the founder and CEO of West Hollywood gay hotspot, The Abbey.

Yesterday, he was flying from New York to Los Angeles. However, what should have been a smooth journey was seriously disrupted when his partner was instructed that he had to move from his Premium seat to the main cabin. It was either that or leave the plane."


To me, this sounds like a simple duplicate seat issue, but the way it was handled onboard is where I think AS is getting itself into hot water...

Link to article which includes statement from Alaska Airlines:

https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/...ey/#gs.JP931jc
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Old Jul 30, 18, 11:18 am
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dupe seat or they were on guest passes.

Articles like this have me burying my head in the sand as a gay man. This makes us look like whiney victims.
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Old Jul 30, 18, 11:34 am
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Originally Posted by NoLaGent View Post
"Alaska Airlines says it is investigating a mistake in which a gay couple were told they had to switch seats to make way for a heterosexual couple who wished to sit together.

David Cooley is a well-known gay businessman. He’s the founder and CEO of West Hollywood gay hotspot, The Abbey.

Yesterday, he was flying from New York to Los Angeles. However, what should have been a smooth journey was seriously disrupted when his partner was instructed that he had to move from his Premium seat to the main cabin. It was either that or leave the plane."


To me, this sounds like a simple duplicate seat issue, but the way it was handled onboard is where I think AS is getting itself into hot water...

Link to article which includes statement from Alaska Airlines:

https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/...ey/#gs.JP931jc
"We will never be flying <fill in the blank> airline again"..... All businesses make mistakes or employees which do things incorrectly.
To me, it depends on how the business responds to my complaint that makes a difference.

That says, there is some missing information. The article indicated AS told it 2 couples were assigned the same seats.
How exactly would this happen unless someone manually overrode the computer. And, if the gay couple had valid boarding passes for the seats, and were able to board using them, why would they be kicked out of their seats?
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Old Jul 30, 18, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by UAPremierExec View Post
dupe seat or they were on guest passes.

Articles like this have me burying my head in the sand as a gay man. This makes us look like whiney victims.
The Alaska statement confirms dupe seats, and as the CEO of the Abbey, I'd find guest passes to be doubtful. Maybe it came down to an upgrade processor glitch and the other pax had a higher status or fare, although I doubt we'll ever know. I do agree that it comes off as "whiney victims", but it does seem like 2 or 3 minutes of a GA/FA working with solo travelers to do a seat swap with either couple would've avoided this whole mess instead of going the deplane the aircraft route. (which is actually what the couple ended up doing in the end)
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Old Jul 30, 18, 11:59 am
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I'm still waiting for an evidence that this would not have happened to a heterosexual couple under the same circumstances.
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Old Jul 30, 18, 1:13 pm
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From a closed group:

Definitely not. Story is, one of the gentleman was seated in premium class and the other in the main cabin and they didn't have seats together. Alaska has assigned seating (which you can select to sit near a loved one prior to getting on board). So allegedly the gentleman seated in the main cabin moved himself to the seat next to his loved one in premium class hoping the person actually assigned that seat in premium class wouldn't show up, well the person did and they got upset and left the airplane.
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Old Jul 30, 18, 1:17 pm
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Originally Posted by CDKing View Post
From a closed group:
And, where did they get the info, since BOTH of them were being told to move for the other couple
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Old Jul 30, 18, 1:27 pm
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As the Alaska/Virgin team members shed light on this, I am wanting to start a boycott against this guy's club.

#bipolarmedsforall
#everyseatmatters
#seatpoacher
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Old Jul 30, 18, 1:30 pm
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Just paint one of the planes like a rainbow and all will be forgiven.
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Old Jul 30, 18, 1:37 pm
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We’ll likely never know the answer to this, but is it possible the Abbey guy and his companion were on separate reservations?

That might sync up the “closed group” note of originally not sitting together, if premium companion upgrades must be on the same reservation. If different reservations and different last names, the GA who reassigned may have mistakenly assumed they weren’t traveling together.
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Old Jul 30, 18, 2:12 pm
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Are AS F/As allowed to offer compensation for someone to go from Premium to non-Premium Coach? As a solo traveler I would have happily moved for 20k miles, grudgingly for 10k. Avoiding the delay with someone's baggage being offloaded, etc. would have gotten me to move for free if there were a pair of empty seats in the back, though.
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Old Jul 30, 18, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by NoLaGent View Post
as the CEO of the Abbey, I'd find guest passes to be doubtful.
Offopic and probably OMNI but I must say that many businessman and/or rich people are not like the Kardashians and can be extremely frugal. So any thing is possible.

Who knows what really happened. I think most GAs/FAs are far from homophopic, and what happened was most likely, IMO, a result of something else, not the GA/FA's biases or prejudices (if any).
These things happen not infrequently and to heterosexual couples as well.
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Old Jul 30, 18, 2:27 pm
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i’ve paid for enough $18 Abbey cocktails that its owner can surely pony up for a flat bed over Y+

Last edited by dayone; Jul 30, 18 at 5:19 pm Reason: Redact masked vulgarity.
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Old Jul 30, 18, 2:33 pm
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Originally Posted by NoLaGent View Post
The Alaska statement confirms dupe seats, and as the CEO of the Abbey, I'd find guest passes to be doubtful. Maybe it came down to an upgrade processor glitch and the other pax had a higher status or fare, although I doubt we'll ever know. I do agree that it comes off as "whiney victims", but it does seem like 2 or 3 minutes of a GA/FA working with solo travelers to do a seat swap with either couple would've avoided this whole mess instead of going the deplane the aircraft route. (which is actually what the couple ended up doing in the end)
Do you have a link to the AS statement?
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Old Jul 30, 18, 3:21 pm
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Originally Posted by mvoight View Post
And, where did they get the info, since BOTH of them were being told to move for the other couple
That's not what Cooley's tweet said. Copying it here...
​​​​​​“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."
The thing that's somewhat confusing to me is that Alaska Airlines has been a big supporter of LGBT causes and this flight is a legacy Virgin America flight operated on old Virgin America metal. Virgin America, with its hub and operations at SFO, might have been America's gayest airline in terms of staff and passengers.

Could it be that Cooley's partner was bounced from his seat by a Federal Air Marshal? Seems more than possible at this point. There are only eight seats up front, and if Cooley's partner had an aisle seat, that would be my bet.
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