Gay dads and kids denied entry to plane because airline ‘didn’t consider them a real family’

Two gay dads have said they and their children were denied priority boarding to a flight because the airline didn’t consider them a family.

Grant Morse, his husband Sam and their three kids were flying with Southwest from Buffalo, New York, to Fort Lauderdale in Florida over the weekend when they faced “horrific discrimination”.

The fathers, who have been together for 26 years, were with their twin three-year-old boys, five-year-old daughter and Grant’s 83-year-old mother.

Writing on Facebook, Grant described how they approached the family boarding area, as they had done many times before, only to have their whole family structure invalidated.

“The boarding agent assertively approached and said: ‘This is family boarding,’” he recounted.

“My husband responded: ‘We know, we are a family.’

“She said: ‘Not all can go. This is family boarding.’”

“We replied: ‘We are both fathers with three kids in strollers and our 83-year-old mother, who needs help and cannot be left alone.

“She said: ‘You all can’t go!’”

Grant said that when the family tried to board during the time set aside for families to do so, the same attendant loudly told them: “‘You. Can’t. Go. This is for families only.’

“I said: ‘We are a family: two legal dads, three kids and our frail mother.’

“She stated: ‘You cannot board.’ I was absolutely amazed and asked why, since we are a family.

“She stated: ‘The kids and parents only.’ We said we were both parents.

“Then she clearly stated only one adult and three kids can board. I was SHOCKED! She actually was denying family boarding to one of the legal fathers.”

Grant described how the family was “forced to be the last one to board the aircraft.

“My daughter asked: ‘Papa, why will they not let us get on the aeroplane?’”

When the family was eventually allowed to board, Grant said his mother “had to sit in the exit row, alone” despite being “83-years-old and frail”.

“The entire plane was at risk if an emergency were to occur,” he added.

The Florida resident said it was “so sad” that such an event had occurred, calling it an “awful experience” and “blatant discrimination” on the part of the airline.

When contacted by Channel 2 in Florida, Southwest said it had only just heard about the situation and referred the TV station to its “family boarding policy”.

A spokesperson for the airline said the policy indicates one adult can board with children under six years old.