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On June 26th of this year, the US Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, thereby normalizing all relationships, both straight and gay. Every US citizen can receive the same benefits and hardships that come with marital bliss.
However, government and private business are not always bound by the same policies.
Listeners, Love is in the Air, and it’s cheaper if you are part of the LGBTQ community.
We’ve all heard about the bakery that refused to bake wedding cakes for same-sex weddings. However several major airlines – Delta, American Airlines, Southwest, even our very Alaska Airlines, do quite the opposite, by offering an LGBT discount to LGBTQ community members’ tickets visiting Pride destinations.
I found very little news coverage of the LGBTQ travel deals, and nothing that discussed the actual process. I had several questions for Alaska Airlines, like how customers can prove they are LGBTQ, whether you have to verify you are actually attending a Pride event , and if people could save money by falsely claiming to be LGBTQ.
I e-mailed, I called the airline’s media relations department, I facebooked — I even tweeted at @AlaskaAirlines, seeking an interview to answer these questions, but I received nothing. After a week of waiting, I chose to go undercover.
Proving you’re going to a Pride event
I called Alaska Airlines travel assistance, acting as a straight costumer wanting to attend a pride event in New Orleans called Southern Decadence. I brought up the LGBTQ travel deal early in the conversation, the travel agent quickly found the same discount and we began the process of booking a flight. When the character I was acting as, revealed to be straight but would still be attending the event, the discount still applied.
As the booking process began winding down, I realized there seemed to be no way of proving that that I would actually be attending or not. I asked the travel agent if anyone could just claim to be attending an event and receive the discount.
“If they are going off the page, we assume they are supporting the pride festival,” the travel agent said.
Receiving Alaska Airlines LGBTQ discount turned out to be extremely simple.
What does the Alaska Airlines LGBT discount offer?
To break down the price difference I had to go online. I went on the Alaska Airlines travel page and booked a round trip from Anchorage to New Orleans, September 2-7 during the Southern Decadence Event, as a party of 1. With the LGBTQ discount, the total cost of the trip would amount to $786.40.
In a separate booking from Anchorage to New Orleans from September 2-7 with the exact same information, including times of departing, arrivals, and delays, but without the LGBTQ discount the total cost of the trip would be $823.50. The cost difference is $37.10, which amounts to a 7% discount.
After the investigative phone call, I did finally receive an email from Bobbie Egan, Alaska Airlines’ Media Relations Director, providing general information about the existence of the LGBTQ travel promotion. She did not, however, offer us an interview.
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