Saturday, September 23, 2006

The (Better Not Be TOO) Friendly Skies

When George Tsikhiseli and his boyfriend Stephan Varnier left Paris for New York on American Airlines Flight 45, they settled in coach class, ready to endure a cramped flight on Boeing 777. After the meal service they would take turns resting their heads on each other’s shoulders in hopes of getting a bit of sleep before the plane landed that afternoon.

Before they had a chance to doze off, a stewardess with “big Texas hair” came over to their row and told them to stop “the touching and the kissing,” according to the September 25 New Yorker. The men rose from their fog and, after complaining to the stewardess, told the captain that they did not appreciate being singled out for displaying innocent affection. The captain told them to drop the matter immediately or he would divert the plane, ostensibly for security reasons. The men obeyed and, after earning their 15 column inches of fame in the New Yorker, are probably flying Air France these days.


Blogger Evan said...

I read up a little more on this story and I read in one article that American is known for being a gay-friendly airline. I had never heard of this. The incident on this plane certainly doesn't reflect that reputation.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

No, it doesn't. A mutual friend alerted Patrick and me to this via email. I'm reluctant to form a knee-jerk reaction, but from all appearances this is homophobia, plain and simple. American should have issued an apology and refunded the cost of the tickets. Instead it's standing behind mumbo-jumbo security talk. Ugh.

3:55 PM  

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