Lesbian couple accuse airline of ‘blatant homophobia’ after being forced to switch seats with ‘normal’ husband and wife
The pair say they had much right to their seats as their straight counterparts.
A lesbian couple travelling with their daughter have accused airline Qantas of “blatant homophobia and discrimination” after they were asked to move for a husband and wife.
Kristina Antoniades and her partner Merrin Hicks were travelling from Brisbane to Melbourne on Monday (November 9) when Ms Hicks was asked to move so a straight couple could sit together – a request she refused.
“I thought that would be the end of it but once the plane took off the flight manager asked why Merrin was seated next to the man and his wife seated behind them,” Ms Antoniades wrote on Facebook.
“I again advised the flight manager that we were a family and wanted to be seated together. She asked me why I had taken it upon myself to move the wife away from her husband.
“I advised her that we were in our designated seats.”
However, the flight manager continued to pester the couple throughout the journey.
“She demanded to see our boarding passes. We produced them and again she asked why we were not allowing the married couple to be seated together,” Ms Antoniades added.
“I again told her that Merrin was my partner and Lily our daughter. I told her we had just as much right to be seated together as the married couple.
“She simply walked away. She did not offer an apology.”
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Ms Antoniades said she was left feeling humiliated after the incident – which she says brought her and her partner to tears.
Qantas – which has an openly gay CEO – was quick to issue an apology to the couple for the “unfortunate misunderstanding.”
“We have been in contact with the passengers to apologize for the situation, where we were faced with two separate groups of customers asking to switch seats to sit together, including an elderly couple,” they said.
Earlier this month, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop became one of the most senior Liberal figures to suggest her support for same-sex marriage in the country.
Current Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has backed plans for a plebiscite (public vote) on same-sex marriage slated for 2017, but has resisted plans to introduce it sooner.