Same-sex Parents w/children: "Southwest Airlines denied us family boarding"
A publicity photo of Southwest Airline's new aircraft livery. The airline unveiled its new design September 8, 2014. (Credit: Southwest)
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Grant Morse and his spouse (together 26 years married for the past five years) are the legal and biological fathers of twin three-year-old boys and a daughter who is five. This past weekend, the family says they were the victim of "Blatant Discrimination" by Southwest Airlines.
The incident occurred on Saturday May 20th as the family tried to use the family boarding procedure as it took Southwest Airlines Flight 5136 from Buffalo to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
According to Grant Morse, a Southwest Airlines' boarding agent and a supervisor refused to allow the family to use the airlines' family boarding procedure despite multiple requests. Morse said he was told that only "one" of the legal fathers could board with the three children. The angry father said he has flown Southwest Airlines many times and never had any previous problems with family boarding until now.
As a result, the family says it was forced to be separated on the aircraft with the 83-year-old mother sitting by herself and one of the young children sitting in a row alone.
7 Eyewitness News has reached out to Southwest Airlines for a comment.
The following is the Family Boarding policy that Southwest Airlines has posted online:
An adult traveling with a child six years old or younger may board during Family Boarding, which occurs after the "A" group has boarded and before the "B" group begins boarding. If the child and the adult are both holding an "A" boarding pass, they should board in their assigned boarding position.
Reporter Ed Reilly talked with Grant Morse who said he filed a formal complaint with Southwest Airlines and is looking at the possibility of taking legal action. Morse said what upset him was seeing another family (man, woman and child) enter the plane during family boarding while Morse's family was made to stand to the side.
"I felt like I was a criminal and I was humiliated," said the businessman who believes Southwest Airlines needs to address the issue with its employees.
In the attached video clip, you can hear Grant Morse describe the situation. More clips will be aired at 5 & 6.