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We Know You Have Choices when it Comes to Air Travel…

Timothy Kincaid

October 29th, 2009

Lambda Legal is reporting that SkyWest, a Utah based airline, is denying travel benefits to the legal spouses of gay employees in California that they provide to the spouses of their straight employees. This is not only discriminatory and bigoted but it is also against California law.

I’ve inquired with SkyWest as to whether this is true. I’ll let you know what they say.

But, in the meantime, you may wish to carefully weigh your travel decisions and decide whether you wish to fly with an airline that does not consider you to be as valuable as the heterosexual in the next seat over.

Comments

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Joe in California
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

If this is true, then I would not be surprised if SkyWest was owned and or managed by the extreme right in one form or another.
Because of Prop 8, our policy is to boycott Utah no matter what, “the good, bad and the ugly”! I routinely check anything I buy and make sure it doesn’t come from Utah. The LDS church and corporations of the like mind are bad for everyone! Equality means “for everyone”.

Johnson
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

SkyWest is headquartered in St George Utah with the Atkin family the founders. Very Mormon, but I’m surprised SkyWest doesn’t extend the same benefits as I know they must certainly have many G/L employees. Hopefully if this is true, they will change their policy.

Tom in Lazybrook
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

Wouldn’t it do better to just use Skywest/Delta as the name as SkyWest is basically kept in business by Delta’s choice of a discriminatory partner for its’ feeder flights?

Does Atlantic Southeast Airlines, also Skywest/DELTA engaged in discriminatory practices?

Perhaps one effective way to make Skywest change is to contact DELTA and MIDWEST and tell them you expect their regional partners to not discriminate

tristram
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

On a similar note, I have noticed tv ads recently in which JetBlue promotes vacation travel to Jamaica. Doesn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy about JetBlue.

Flight Attendant
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

As a SkyWest employee, I have to say that they do make a (small) effort to promote diversity in company training materials, and their treatment of same-sex domestic partners is consistent with many of the airlines. But it’s clear they are clueless when it comes to legally sanctioned same-sex marriages and their responsibilities as a company that operates in California. I would ask you to send SkyWest respectful letters that explain why you would rather not give your business to a company that does not treat all marriages equally via the Corporate Contact or Corporate Communications link at http://www.skywest.com/contact/contact.php. Like many companies, SkyWest is more apt to listen to the complaints and suggestions of potential customers than to its own employees.

And an aside to Tom (because I can’t help myself): SkyWest is the one who kept Delta in business during its bankruptcy a few years ago, by taking ASA off its hands and paying for it in cash. Just FYI.

cowboy
October 30th, 2009 | LINK

I’m certainly in support of Flight Attendant’s sane response to this. I have a hard time in finding another provider of air travel in Utah. I have a dozen gay friends who work for both Delta and SkyWest and we all need to make the Corporate folk in St. George Utah take note of our displeasure.

I’m not about to tear up my frequent flyer card in protest but I’m a little surprised at SkyWest. I don’t think it is being business savvy if they’re listening to ultra-bigoted voices in quaint St. George.

A note or e-mail to SkyWest headquarters is probably the best course of action.

Frequent Flier
October 30th, 2009 | LINK

I just submitted this letter

Dear Sky West management,

I am disturbed to learn that your company is not recognizing the legal marriages of all your employees in California and is providing unequal benefits for equal work. I travel frequently between San Francisco and Tucson to visit my partner who is a resident doctor at the University Medical Center at the U of A. Skywest, operating as United Express is the only carrier that offers non-stop service on this route and as such I have used this service on several occasions, and would likely have continued to use it in the future approximately monthly. Given this disappointing news where you are ignoring California law in order to discriminate against your employees I will no longer make use of your service, even if it means the inconvenience of having to make a connection in another airport. My partner, who also flies this route in the reverse direction and our friends and family will also be making another selection when choosing our air travel providers, unless your company elects to follow the law. I would hope to see an apology and voluntary compliance from your airline, as if you are legally forced to correct this practice I will continue to make an alternative choice when flying.

I am booked on a return flight on 11/12 to Tucson and am prepared to pay a cancellation fee, rebook on another carrier and keep a United credit in the event that this matter remains unresolved.

Further, in addition to frequent business travel on routes you serve, I will soon have an additional reason to fly on the SFO-Victoria, BC route you serve when my sister and her family relocate there in the next year. Neither she nor her husband and children are likely to support your business when making their travel choices should they be made aware of your practices.

Finally, I will be sharing these thoughts with UAL as a reason for avoiding their routes as well.

Sincerely,

Frequent Flier
October 30th, 2009 | LINK

On reflection, if they don’t offer full benefits throughout the company they’ve lost my business anyway.

Priya Lynn
October 30th, 2009 | LINK

Good on you Frequent Flier.

Tom in Lazybrook
October 30th, 2009 | LINK

To Flight Attendant,

Thanks for your comments. I still think that using DELTA/MIDWEST/UNITED as the dba for Skywest still may be an effective strategy as it allows for a bigger headache for those airlines and for SkyWest.

Andrew Werling
October 31st, 2009 | LINK

This is off-topic, but as I read this blog via Google reader, the advertisement that comes up with this entry is one where you can go to “Stand for Marriage Maine” and give money to fight gay marriage. Weird! You probably don’t have any control over that though.

Rob
October 31st, 2009 | LINK

SkyWest doesn’t care if you purchase tickets on specific routes or not since most SkyWest flights are paid for in full by their major partners. Most of SkyWest’s flights are paid on a “fee per departure” basis. That’s to say, if United (or Delta) sells 1 seat or 50 on a SkyWest flight between SLC and SFO, SkyWest is still being compensated for the full value of the flight.

If you want to make an impact, contact the major partners. SkyWest may be nudged by some letters but threats of lost business would be better directed to SkyWest’s major airline partners.

Frequent Flier
October 31st, 2009 | LINK

Thanks for that info. Rob. I sent United a copy of that letter indicating that if that is the type of partner they do business with I couldn’t do business with them either.

Emproph
November 2nd, 2009 | LINK

But, in the meantime, you may wish to carefully weigh your travel decisions and decide whether you wish to fly with an airline that does not consider you to be as valuable as the heterosexual in the next seat over.

That’s brilliant.

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