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Gay couple says airline discriminated, treated straight couple better. Airline has different story.
A gay couple alleges that an airline discriminated against them in order to give preferential treatment to a straight couple. (Chalabala/Getty Images)

Gay couple says airline discriminated, treated straight couple better. Airline has different story.

A gay couple claims that an Alaska Airlines flight attendant told them to separate and sit in coach, or leave the plane.

The couple, feeling shamed, left the plane.

What are the details?

David Cooley, founder and CEO of West Hollywood hotspot, The Abbey, detailed a disturbing alleged encounter with Alaska Airlines Sunday on Facebook.

"I have never been so discriminated against while traveling before," Cooley wrote. "I was removed from an Alaska Airlines flight #1407 from John F. Kennedy International Airport to LAX to give preferential treatment to a straight couple.

"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," Cooley continued, noting that he told the attendant that he and his traveling companion were also a couple who 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," Cooley said. "We could not bear the feeling of humiliation for an entire cross-country flight and left the plane."

Cooley added that he was in disbelief that an airline in 2018 would provide "preferential treatment" to a straight couple over a gay couple, and revealed that he and his partner took a Delta Air Lines flight home.

Cooley also tagged LGBT-friendly publications in his post, such as GLAAD, The Advocate, and more.

What did the airline say?

While Cooley's allegation was certainly a fiery one, a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines had a slightly different version of events in response to Cooley's claims.

A spokesperson for the airline told Fox News, “When boarding flight 1407 from JFK to LAX, a couple was mistakenly assigned the same seats as another couple in Premium Class. We reseated one of the guests from Premium class in 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. Alaska Airlines has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind, and our employees value inclusion for our guests and each other.”

According to the outlet, Cooley has yet to respond to Alaska Airlines' recollection of the alleged encounter.

At the time of this writing, Cooley also has not posted anything further on social media beyond his original claim.

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