Sunday, December 2, 2007

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air announce new program - Heterosexuals Pay 10% More

Airline 'discount' charges heterosexual customers more
10% penalty applied if buyers don't get tickets from 'gay' site

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air have announced a new program that will charge heterosexuals 10 percent extra for their air travel to specific locations during the Christmas season.

The company actually offers the 10 percent as a discount but only if the purchaser obtains the ticket through a "gay" page of the company's website, a location not typically patronized by families seeking travel arrangements, according to an Idaho activist who was distressed by the offering.
Alaska Airlines in flight

Bryan Fischer, of the Idaho Values Alliance, told WND the company boasts of its "nondiscrimination" policies, but, "here they are blatantly discriminating against heterosexuals in their pricing structure."

Word of the discount came through an airline employee, who needed to remain anonymous because of concerns over retaliation. The employee reported the company had sent e-mails out announcing the "very soft launch" of the new promotion.

"They are giving preferences to male passengers who want to wear dresses on the planes, and giving them preference over married couples," Fischer said, noting families typically buy more tickets than individuals or pairs traveling together.

"It just doesn't seem like it's smart business for them to stick their thumb in the eye of the main passengers," he told WND.

He said he had called the company's reservations number and the clerk was unaware of the program and it didn't come up on the general list of discounts available to reservations agents, but he did verify that the "gay" page discount was valid – but only by going through the "gay" page.

"The only way you could take advantage of this is to self-identify as a homosexual, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Otherwise you're out of luck," Fischer told WND.

The actual program, he noted, doesn't demand a person be homosexual, but is set up so that only those deliberately looking for "gay" travel options would find it.

A spokeswoman for the airline, Amanda Bielawski, returned WND's call requesting a comment, but didn't answer questions, noting that she didn't know about the program. Then she quizzed WND on who had given the news organization information on the program.

The airline also at some point after WND inquired changed the headline on the page from "Gay Travel" to "New York City on Sale" but it still appeared to be available only through a direct "gay travel" web page, and couldn't be located through the airline's general reservations web site. It wasn't listed on the page that was supposed to reference "promo/all_deals". The promotion appeared only under a page citing "gaytravel/LGBT-NYC-Sale."

Fischer said he'd been told by sources the corporation viewed the homosexual community as a "gigantic profitable segment of the market."

The company earlier had an offer to travel to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, under its "gay" discount, and currently is offering discounted "holiday" travel.

"Lucky travelers who immediately switch their sexual orientation from heterosexual to anything else can qualify for a special 10 percent discount for holiday travel to New York City," noted Fischer. "All they have to do, according to Alaska, is enter a special discount code "when you purchase your tickets at [the "gay" web page].

"Alaska is basically imposing a 10 percent surcharge for these destinations on travelers who are sexually normal. It's certainly odd to see such blatant discrimination against heterosexuals from a company that claims to be all about equal treatment for everyone," Fischer said.

"It's always a mistake for a company to establish policies that normalize homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism, but to add insult to injury by penalizing straights in the process is inexcusable," he said.

The airline's special page also promotes flights to events such as the "5th Los Angeles LGBT People of Color Film Festival," and the "8th International Conference of Gay and Lesbian Tourism."

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