Friday, September 22, 2006

American Airlines homophobia

As if the terrible food and movie selection on the last American Airlines flight I took weren't enough, along comes this story to make me boycott American Airlines.
American Airlines Flight 45 ... Assigned to seats 20A and 20B were George Tsikhiseli, a television journalist, and his writer boyfriend, Stephan Varnier. “We’ve been together only four months,” Tsikhiseli said last week. “So it felt like a honeymoon.” ...

Shortly after takeoff, Varnier nodded off, leaning his head on Tsikhiseli. A stewardess came over to their row. “The purser wants you to stop that,” she said.

“I opened my eyes and was, like, ‘Stop what?’ ” Varnier recalled the other day.

“The touching and the kissing,” the stewardess said, before walking away.

Tsikhiseli and Varnier were taken aback. “He would rest his head on my shoulder or the other way around. We’d kiss—not kiss kiss, just mwah,” Tsikhiseli recalled, making a smacking sound. ...

A little later, the purser appeared at Row 20. She was, by all accounts, calm and professional; to the men’s surprise, she said that she knew nothing about the incident and had not instructed the stewardess to tell Tsikhiseli and Varnier to stop touching each other.

“Which stewardess was it?” she asked.

One of the men pointed out the stewardess—a woman with, as Jackson put it, “Texas hair, like from the nineteen-sixties.” According to Leisner, the purser rolled her eyes and said, “Oh, say no more. I know.”

The purser asked the men to describe what they’d been doing, and she acknowledged that their behavior had not been inappropriate. Tsikhiseli then asked if the stewardess would have made the request if the kissers had been a man and a woman. Suddenly, Leisner said, the purser “became very rigid.” Contradicting what she’d told them before, she stiffly said, “Kissing is inappropriate behavior on an airplane.” She then said that she was busy with the meal service and promised to come back.

Half an hour later, the purser returned, this time saying that some passengers had complained about Tsikhiseli and Varnier’s behavior earlier. The men asked more questions. ... Finally, the purser said that if they didn’t drop the matter the flight would be diverted. ...

Maybe an hour later, the purser approached Tsikhiseli and said that the captain wanted to talk to him. Tsikhiseli went up to the galley and gave the captain his business card. The captain told Tsikhiseli that if they didn’t stop arguing with the crew he would indeed divert the plane. “I want you to go back to your seat and behave the rest of the flight, and we’ll see you in New York,” he said. Tsikhiseli returned to coach.

Tim Wagner, a spokesman for American, said that the stewardess’s injunction to the men was reasonable, and would have been made whether the couple was gay or straight. “Our passengers need to recognize that they are in an environment with all ages, backgrounds, creeds, and races. We have an obligation to make as many of them feel as comfortable as possible,” he said. (He added, “Our understanding is that the level of affection was more than a quick peck on the cheek.”) But a customer-service representative named Terri, reached last week on the telephone, offered the opinion that kissing on airplanes is indeed permissible. “Oh, yeah! Sure. I’ve seen couples who are on honeymoons,” she said. “They just don’t want you to go into the bathroom together.”

62 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10/08/2006 10:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Ed the Editor said...

I was on a plane once with a couple of lesbian lovers who were all but making out. It was not exactly embarrassing, more, very distracting, peering through the gap between 6 rows of seat backs to get a good look - and where do you look when you have eye contact with a girl whose tongue is down her girlfriend's throat.

This ocurred on Easy Jet UK to Spain, so i guess the English stewardess would have been to shy to ask them to stop. US businesses are neutered and retarded arent they, in comparison to the rest of the world?

11/03/2006 01:00:00 AM  
Blogger Dennis! said...

This is really sad, particularly since I've been trying to rack up AA miles lately (by doing anything I can except fly on them -- like charge things). Sounds like the pursar only really got upset when the question "would you treat straight people the same way?" was asked -- oh, those uppity gays!

I hope someone stays on top of this until a real explanation is given.

2/05/2007 08:11:00 PM  
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6/02/2007 10:52:00 PM  
Anonymous CreditSpecialist said...

It's not unusual nowadays to see such a sceen. People are more relaxed in their actions now and it's not that bad.

8/30/2007 07:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AA has a lot of nerve. When the pilots switch on auto-pilot, they pull out the porn and probably do a little in-flight action with some of the stews. Give me a break. This is what they worry about after 9/11? Unreal and unacceptable.

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gay or straight nothing wrong with wanting to join the mile high club, airlines should make the loos bigger so people dont have to do it in public.

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Anonymous Jim said...

Sorry to hear they treated you guys like garbage. It's looking like they treat all their customers like garbage, and expect to "corporate fancy talk" their way out of it.

I am posting this response on every blog I can find to get the word out. Don't waste your money on American Airlines.

I wish I had found this blog before my trip last week. I would NOT have bothered with these AMERICAN AIRLINES ***holes.

My suitcase was broken into and some of my tools were STOLEN while my bag was in posession of their company. I was on a business trip and really needed them.

The lock was cut, but hung back through the loops so it appeared to be intact when I glanced at at after pulling my bag off the carousel.

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A SAPPY letter full of meaningless niceties and hollow, canned platitudes telling me that I should have reported the loss within 24 hours.

Gee thanks, for nothing you jerks.

In the past, I just wore my pocket tool and swiss army knife on my BELT and they were NEVER stolen. I also never hijacked a plane with them either.

But now that EVERYONE is treated like a terrorist... we have to check our personal property ...and trust that these clueless corporate jerks are competent enough to hire honest employees.

Obviously, they don't deserve MY trust or my COMPANY's money.

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