The old order clashed with modern life on a recent Qantas domestic flight, when cabin crew asked a woman from Victoria to change seats so that an elderly married couple could sit together.
The request, which Qantas cabin crew no doubt considered a kindly gesture on behalf of the elderly married couple, caused offence because the woman they asked to move seats was part of a same-sex couple travelling together with their daughter.
The partner of the woman asked to move seats went on to accuse Qantas of “blatant homophobia”, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The matter appeared to have been resolved shortly after boarding, only to flare up again mid-flight when a Qantas flight attendant allegedly accused the same-sex couple of separating the elderly married couple and demanded to see boarding passes. The same-sex couple were in their designated, business-class seats.
“I again told her [the flight attendant] that Merrin was my partner and Lily our daughter,” one of the women is quoted as saying. “I told her we had just as much right to be seated together as the married couple.”
Qantas later contacted the aggrieved woman to apologise for the “unfortunate misunderstanding”, complete with an offer of extra Frequent Flyer points.
The Sydney Morning Herald commented: “Qantas was heavily involved in this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras and is headed by openly gay chief executive Alan Joyce.”
Written by Peter Needham