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.