Kicked Off A Plane For Being Gay Or Just Inappropriate?

Social Media … the ultimate tool for those who feel wronged, especially celebrities and semi-celebrities.   Earlier this week was no different when actress Leisha Hailey Tweeted that a Southwest Airlines flight attendant had her removed from her flight for being a lesbian.


In a matter of moments, The L-Word star’s tweets were ripping through Twitter with people calling for a boycott against Southwest Airlines and their anti-gay tactics … never mind that the airline is the official airline of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation … and that Southwest Airlines has a “Gay Friendly Travel” page …


Ms. Hailey alleged that a Southwest Airlines flight attendant had she and another woman kicked off Southwest Airlines Flight 2274, during a stop in El Paso, for kissing each other.   Kissing will not get anyone kicked off a flight, however an inappropriate public display of affection is likely to get other customers to complain and potentially have any passenger removed from a flight.


In the case of Ms. Hailey it seems she was not discriminated against for kissing a woman, but due to passengers complaining about her use of profanity when a flight attendant addressed other passenger’s complaints of her involvement in being ‘excessively affectionate.’


Public displays of affection can go overboard … regardless of sexual orientation.  I have addressed this in the past on Flying With Fish, such as this October 2008 blog post, Passenger Etiquette : Public Display of Affection In Flight.


As a traveler, I can honestly say I wish more flight attendants would step in when couples go beyond merely expressing affection for each other.   Southwest Airlines has refunded Ms. Hailey’s ticket … if it was up to me, I’d have allowed Ms. Hailey and her partner in kissing to take the next or fly another airline at their own expense.  If Ms. Hailey began swearing at the flight attendants when told to cool off, as passengers have reported, the airline had every right to deny her service on that day.


Happy Flying!




  1. For someone who wasn’t there and therefore doesn’t know what actually happened, you sure have a lot of strong opinions.

    And by the way, the fact the Southwest is gay-friendly in some ways doesn’t mean it’s gay-friendly in all ways, and it certainly doesn’t mean all its employees are gay-friendly.

  2. SCL,

    Given that the people who were removed from the flight were removed because they escalated the situation once they were asked to cool it … following a flight attendant reacting to other passengers complaints, followed by complaints of foul language, I feel comfortable in my statements.

    Happy Flying!


  3. Kevin Smith, Billie Joe Armstrong, and now Leisha Hailey. I think Southwest should just ban semi-celebrities as a policy:-)

  4. It is ironic that these passengers were kicked off for their behavior but more security related issues with people carrying guns/knives or behaving in a strange manner is brushed aside.

  5. The issue to me is wether or not the complaining passengers would have said something to the FA if the couple would have been opposite gender. And if wether or not the FA would have done something about it then.

  6. I believe I read an article where Ms. Hailey admitted to being quite profane, which is probably why she & her significant were removed from the flight. As a gay man, I hate to hear stories where emotions take control and an immediate response of “Southwest is anti-Gay” flows so significantly in retaliation. She was likely highly agitated and probably used the “gay card” as her way out of an embarrassing situation. I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened. But for me to hear Southwest standing up so confidently in their removal from the flight, I’m forced to side with the airline. Just my opinion, but again I wasn’t there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *