Alaska Airlines is apologizing on Tuesday after a customer says a flight attendant discriminated against him and his partner.
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David Cooley, an owner of the popular Los Angeles bar, The Abbey, said he was seated in his assigned seat ahead of a Sunday departure from New York to LA alongside his companion when a flight attendant asked his partner to move "so a couple could sit together." Cooley wrote on Facebook that despite explaining that they too are a couple, the flight attendant ordered him to move seats or get off the flight.
.@AlaskaAir I have never been so discriminated against while traveling before. I was removed from an Alaska Airlines flight # 1407 from John F. Kennedy Airport to LAX to give preferential treatment to a straight couple. #LGBTQ #AlaskaAir #JFK #discrimination pic.twitter.com/Os9JWM4aQt— David Cooley (@DavidCooleyLA) July 29, 2018
"We could not bear the feeling of humiliation for an entire cross-country flight and left the plane," he wrote. Cooley and his partner arranged another flight to Los Angeles.
Alaska Airlines provided a statement to ABC News, claiming the incident was "caused by a seating mix-up."
"It's our policy to keep all families seated together whenever possible," the statement read. "That didn’t happen here. We are deeply sorry for the situation and did not intend to make Mr. Cooley and his partner feel uncomfortable in any way."
"All of us at Alaska value inclusion for our guests and each other. Full LGBTQ equality is part of the fabric of Alaska Airlines. We are an airline for everyone and reflect these values through our work with dozens of nonprofit LGBTQ organizations, and our efforts toward achieving a perfect score in HRC’s Equality Index. We’ll keep building on this commitment with our LGBTQ employee group, GLOBE.”
Alaska Airlines spokesperson Ann Johnson would not answer questions from ABC News, including if the flight attendant understood that Cooley and his partner are a couple.