What is going on with Southwest Airlines? Yesterday the airline kicked Leisha Hailey, 'L-Word' actress and band member of Uh Huh Her, off the plane for kissing her girlfriend. Although we do not know the intimacy level of the kissing--peck, snogging,etc--Leisha Hailey is very upset over the issue feeling it to be unjust. I am sure once more press is released regarding the issue, the level of intimacy of the kiss will be identified. Regardless, I have seen my fair share of straight couples slobbering all over one another on Southwest Airlines and flight attendants never even did a double-take.

Either way, it is worth nothing how earlier this month, on September 3rd, Green Day member Billie Joe Armstrong was kicked off of Southwest Airlines were wearing "too saggy" of pants. Furthermore, hollywood director, Kevin Smith, was kicked off Southwest Airlines for being "too fat" in 2010.  Does Southwest have a marketing death wish or just a vendetta out for celebrities? Either way, this is certainly not good publicity for the company.  Especially considering Southwest's attempt to establish a warm environment with its' slogan, "How do we love you? Let us count the ways..."

According to TMZ, Leisha Hailey "is now demanding a public apology from Southwest -- calling for her fans, and gay people everywhere, to boycott the airline for its 'homophobic' policies, writing, 'They don't like us.'"

So far all Southwest has released to the media is the following:

"Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive. Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all Customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender. The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight. We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling short of their expectation."

(Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey of Uh Huh Her)

According to AfterEllen.com, Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey's publicist released the following:

We have always promoted tolerance, openness and equality both as a band and as individuals. We both come from loving homes where our parents not only love and accept us, but are also proud of who we are. We believe everyone has the right to live openly in this society as equals. In no way were our actions on Southwest Airlines excessive, inappropriate or vulgar. We want to make it clear we were not making out or creating any kind of spectacle of ourselves, it was one, modest kiss. We are responsible adult women who walk through the world with dignity. We were simply being affectionate like any normal couple. We were on the airplane less than 5 minutes when all was said and done. We take full responsibility for getting verbally upset with the flight attendant after being told it was a “family airline.” We were never told the reason the flight attendant approached us, we were only scolded that we “needed to be aware that Southwest Airlines was a family oriented airline.” No matter how quietly homophobia is whispered, it doesn’t make it any less loud. You can’t whisper hate. We ask this airline to teach their employees to not discriminate against any couple, ever, regardless of their own beliefs. We want to live in a society where if your loved one leans over to give you an innocent kiss on an airplane it's not labeled as "excessive or not family oriented" by a corporation and it’s employees. We find it very disturbing that the same airline who lauds itself as being LGBT friendly has twisted an upsetting incident that happened into our behavior being "too excessive." The above is not an apology and we are in the process of filing a formal complaint with the airline. We hope that when all is said and done a greater tolerance without prejudice will evolve.

It all seems a little peculiar if you ask me. If Southwest is exhibiting such behavior towards celebrities imagine how they are treating other customers.  Celebrities just happen to get more publicity. I'm just interested to see how their stocks hold up with all of this negative publicity.  At present their stocks seem to be up with their low flight prices, but we shall see. After all, we must keep in mind that Southwest is one of the airlines who prides itself in being a gay friendly airline with its GLBT outreach.  

Would Southwest kick off a straight couple for kissing? What is the policy on PDA? I suppose once more news is released on this matter and the degree of the kissing is clarified more answers will be provided.  However, it is without a doubt that Southwest's discriminatory behavior will cause customer's consider the company.  Will their discrimination affect customers? It depends on what the customer values: quality service or cheap flights.  Then again, if they are going to be kicked off their flight over some petty issue such as "saggy pants" the cheap flight is not really worth it.
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