Gay Couple: United Airlines Manager Called Us ‘Faggots’

My partner and I were catching the 7:07pm flight from Denver to San Diego on Saturday, November 26th 2011. We arrived at Denver airport and proceeded to the United lounge. We are both Gold members with United/Star Alliance and have had no problem entering the lounges when traveling in Gold status. We went to customer service and the line was empty.

My partner and walked to the front of the rope and stood there waiting, there were four staff behind the desk (1 male, 3 female) and one male stood beside them. We were initially ignored as all five were chatting to each other. One was reading a magazine on hair and nails. The gentleman at the side of the desk beckoned us over, yet still we were ignored.

The four staff started laughing with each other as to who was going to help, pointing to each other. One woman said 'I can't help as I'm pregnant' and laughed at us. A lady (whose name we did not take) then proceeded to 'help' We asked what the difference was with the Gold access to the lounges, but she could not help. She simply told us that Gold access was for international only as 'those tickets cost more' in a very condescending tone.

Eventually the gentleman to the side of the desk explained the difference, that there are open wide access Gold lounges and United members clubs. What we had tried to enter was a members club. The lady who served us went back to reading her magazine and I apologized for interrupting her magazine reading and explained she was rude. She looked up, again with a condescending attitude and said 'Im soooo sorry'

My partner then backed up my cause explaining how rude she was, again we were met with 'Im so sorry' This wasn't an apology, but a mere attempt at belittling us.

The conversation got heated and then Rodney Hill, the 'manager' appeared. The conversation went like this:

RH: 'It's time for you men to leave'

My partner: 'You haven't assessed the situation, you've just turned up half way through and are demanding we leave'

RH: 'I don't care, you need to leave now or I will have you removed from the airport and you won't fly'

MP: 'And who are you and what is your role'

RH: 'I am the manager' (delivered with a patronizing tone)

This conversation went back and forth for approximately a minute and I then ushered my partner away. Rodney was continuing to threaten us by removing us from the airport. We posed no 'threat' to be removed from the airport, the only aggravation we showed was upset from a rude service desk clerk. After walking away Rodney followed us and continued to fuel the fire. We did challenge him to act better. He then followed us threatening again to remove us, as to which point we walked away.

Rodney Hill then shouted 'idiots' at us.

Angered at this my partner attempted to walk back to challenge him, my partner shouted 'what was that?' and Rodney replied. 'What faggots?' before walking back to the customer service desk.

At this point I pulled my partner back. There was simply no point going back to the desk area as we would have been removed with force from the airport. We were not winning and could not communicate with any of the staff at this area. We couldn't get pictures or couldn't talk to a manager for fear of getting removed from our flight. We sat in the waiting area, both of us visibly upset and shaken by what had happened. I then returned to the desk and asked for Rodney's full name. He responded by saying 'dont you dare patronize me'

Comments

  1. Gay American says

    Notice lately that ALOT of these Remarks against Gays from young Black guys…ARE FROM younger black men who NEVER had to FIGHT for thier RIGHTS…who LIVE OFF the BACKS of those WHO FOUGHT & even Died for thier RIGHTS…they Take thier Rights for Granted.

  2. jason says

    Gay American,

    Yours is a very astute observation, very astute indeed.

    I’ve been saying for some time now that the young blacks of today are becoming the most homophobic group of people in society. They never had to fight for their civil rights the way their grandparents had to. Their awareness of the dangers of prejudice is very low. They have an arrogance about them that is dangerous to our rights.

    Of course, you also need to remember that young blacks have grown up on a diet of homophobic rap and hip hop music. It’s been a pervasive influence on them. The gay community made a huge mistake when it failed to criticize blacks and their homophobic music genres way back in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

  3. justinw says

    Yes. There is a lot of explaining to do. And United Airlines needs to be held up very publicly on this.

  4. AllBeefPatty says

    The problem with young black men is that they have lost the ability to moderate their language.

    When you are surrounded with terms like bitches, hoes, pimps, niggaz, etc…faggot isn’t out of the question.

    Look at the garbage that comes out of the mouths of people like Puffy, 50, and any ball player.

    Children learn what they live.

  5. Manny says

    I would caution on jumping to any conclusions or making generalizations about the entire African-American community. The gentleman who made the alleged remarks is in his 30’s w/a long career in the airline industry, according to his Twitter/LinkedIn profiles. There are 2 sides to every story. As a former airline employee (and a gay man) I’d be curious to hear what the airline employees have to say. Keep in mind that the “victims” were trying to enter an airline lounge that they did NOT have access to. As Gold members of United’s Mileage program I’m surprised they didn’t know the difference and wonder how “insistent” they were w/these agents. Having said that there is no excuse for using slurs of any kind…IF they really said them.

  6. Kenneth H. says

    Sounds like there may have been a pattern at this airline of discrimination, at least at this airport. Situations like this rarely just happen by themselves.

  7. Brian says

    Definitely need to hear both sides of the story here. As a customer-facing manager of a large company, he would undoubtedly have been bombarded with training about abusive language and in particular sensitivity about race, sexual orientation etc. From the back and forth included here his reaction was reckless and irrational and I don’t believe he would break years of training on this matter if the situation were that simple. I’m not saying he didn’t say faggot, but if he did, my guess is they did much more than is included here to provoke him. And yes, it’s still unacceptable to use the word in any circumstance; I just don’t buy that the situation went as portrayed here.

    And for those of you blaming his use of the word on the african american youth culture, the guy is well past his youth, and I’m sure his years of customer service training would be a bigger influence on him than listening to hip hop music as a teenager.

  8. Brian says

    Just to add, I’m not an apologist for the airline, I think United has loads of rude and lazy employees. I just think even the rudest and laziest would know there are a few places you don’t go when trying to abuse customers, and racial/sexual slurs are definitely off limits.

  9. Francis says

    First of all, why drag race into this? Not every situation is racial. It is a total disservice to continue to make everything about black and white, when it isn’t.

    Secondly, there is ABSOLUTELY no excuse for what happened here, and the manager needs to be fired. An investigation is under way but if there isn’t swift and appropriate action taken, then the couple should sue. The harassment and total lack of professionalism is appalling. If this manager allows a citizen complaint to become so out of control that a situation such as this occurs as has the couple entails, that tells me he isn’t equipped to be manager in the first place. “Provoking” this sort of reaction is a poor defense. The employees were unprofessional and the manager is a homophobe, they did something wrong, and they need to pay the price.

  10. Phil says

    Oh and I agree with Brian. As someone else who works in customer relations, it is difficult to believe these gentlemen’s story without giving it a bit of a what-are-you-leaving-out side-eye. Basically, this story needs a lot of salt.

    Like Brian, I am not an apologist, and I too have experienced some seriously lazy and rude customer service while traveling (and when you work in the service industry and deal with customers yourself, it’s even MORE ANNOYING than when you don’t–it’s like a seasoned attorney dealing with a correspondence school lawyer who barely passed the bar). But I, too, would like a fuller story than the side presented by the victims of the still inexcusable slur. It really does take a lot to get to the level where one seriously risks their job–moreso than what’s presented here, for sure.

  11. Stan says

    The rules are pretty clear and are all over United’s website … they would not have been allowed free access to the Red Carpet Club on a domestic flight. Since both are frequent fliers they probably knew this and tried to get in anyways. Would want to hear the other side of this story.

  12. JWL says

    I dont think we can go on pretending like race has nothing to do with it. Most public slurs lately have been coming from men of color and that needs to be looked at. I wont be foolish enough to try to comment on why that is, but it is happening.

  13. Upsetter says

    My personal pet peeve, but basically I view with suspicion any non-celebrity with a personal Tweeter account. They either love drama or invite drama to justify their OCD.

    Soapbox ends.

  14. lee says

    The first few comments -very condescending and ignorant. The person involved does not refer to race but yet the comments refer the race of the individual and tries to character assassin a whole group of people. The more I read; the more I believe that a percentage of the gay white community needs to handle their own racial views before expecting others to join them-inclusive instead of exclusion.

  15. says

    It is so sad that this still occurs. I recently fell victim to such hurtful comments from my manager at work, to the point that I had to quit my job. Grievances with the vice president and owner of the company got me no where except more threats. The even worse part is my employer was in no violation of state law in Ohio so I basically can do nothing about it except boycott them and say never purchase a vehicle from Jeff Schmitt auto group in Ohio.

  16. Pete n SFO says

    To me, it reads with jerks on both sides… these guys were 50% of the situation & were already score-keeping about lack of attention before anything even began.

    You can escalate, or you can walk-away. Did they really think they were going to teach the United CSA a lesson…on the SUNDAY OF THXGVG WKEND??? Puleeeeze. Move on w/ your lives, girls.

    And those commenting on race, it may or may not have to do w/ this story- but I bet it has A LOT more to do w/ your own.

  17. MikeH says

    The language should not have been used – however, as another comment pointed out the rules for entry to the clubs are very clear. You DO NOT get in based upon status unless you are on an international itinerary. I would assume these guys are frequent flyers so they should know this. I find it hard to believe they didn’t know this. I feel sorry for airline personnel, they have to deal with people trying to game the system and then go through the give me your supervisors name, blah, blah, blah… I hope these guys get NOTHING from United… it only encourages other people to provoke incidents to get something for free. What a bunch of drama queens!

  18. Francis says

    Again, people, this couple may or may not have been in the wrong. I think they are at least partially responsible for what occurred. But, ultimately, it’s a managers’ job to not allow a situation to spiral into what it reportedly spiraled into. The posters blaming the couple need to realize that, based on this account, they aren’t the ones who personally attacked the employees at this United Airlines.

  19. says

    It doesn’t matter if these guys were trying to get access to some place they didn’t belong or not. Using the word “faggots” is not acceptable. Period. Kick them off their flight. Throw them out of the gold area. But don’t call them THAT. I don’t see how anyone could justify that.

  20. JP says

    Okay. As a young gay black male I’m TIRED of everytime a minority says a slur it’s suddenly the entire race that is homophobic. No, this is not the case. Since Brett Ratner said FAG does that mean the entire jewish race is homophobic? Geez. I was just talking with a friend of mine about how much I love this site and he claimed it was very racist. I denied it, but now I’m thinking he may have had a point. Anyways, to the story at hand. While the slur should not have been used under any circumstance…I kind of want to know what occurred. Phrases like “We did challenge him to act better.” make me wonder exactly what happened.

  21. Brian says

    JP, I’m sure the site and Andy by extension aren’t racist, and I think stories with a potential race angle are handled objectively and sensitively. The commenters, however, are a different story. I think it’s still much better than queerty, but for whatever reason a vocal minority feels compelled to introduce race into every single story where a person of color is featured. My hope/assumption is that the dozen or so commenters who obsess about race in each story are unrepresentative of the broader community, that only fringe obsessives would post so much on this topic, and that the vast majority of readers don’t share these views, or probably even read the comments.

  22. David in Houston says

    Sounds like a lot of United employees needs to be terminated; and United needs to retrain current employees on how to treat LGBT customers. This level of hostility towards gay people cannot be tolerated in society.

    I have no reason to not believe what the gay couple posted. What would be the point of targeting a bunch of random United employees if the situation didn’t actually occur they way they said it did? — …and I couldn’t care less about the race of the employees. It doesn’t matter. If the manager was white, he should still be terminated.

  23. Abel says

    I made up my mind years ago I would never fly United again after being rudely treated by a ticket taker.

  24. Gay American says

    Look I don’t care what color anyone is….purple,blue,black, whatever….but its becoming clear recently that the “younger black generation” has NO problem throwing “words” around….my commwent was to point out that – its easy to throw hurtful words around..when you’ve never had to Fight for your Rights/ or for just simple Respect as a human being…when all those Rights were there when you were born. ..thats all. Again…..I just wish people would Treat others,as they Themselves wish to be Treated..period.

  25. Jon says

    As a frequent flier myself, i know there are good employees and bad employees at any airline just like in any other company. And as someone who has worked customer service as well you should be trained to be able to deescalate situations and not let customers take you there…as we all know sometimes people can try your patience.

    Having said, I agree with previous posters that we need more information. If these men have Gold Status, that requires flying 50,000 miles each year anyone flying that much would know what the club rules are. Individuals with Gold Status have complimentary club access only when flying on an international itinerary; these guys should know that. If they had gotten club access before while flying domestically they were comped and the customer service agent would have let them know that.

    Customer service reps. who work the Clubs are usually some of the airlines best because they are expected to deal with high profile and vip passengers who use the clubs. I have a hard time believing that they were just ignored when they entered the club and approached the desk, because every passenger who enters must be acknowledged and logged into the system.

    But then i re-read their account…it says they went to “customer service” and the line was empty and they went to the front of the rope. There are rarely rope lines inside lounges because they don’t deal with that many passengers. I’m now thinking they went to the general customer service desk on the concourse not to the Red Carpet Club front desk which would be inside the club. Staff at the general airline customer service desk deal mostly with ticket changes and might not be that familiar with Club rules and should/would have referred them to the Red Carpet club.

    There just seems to be information missing or out of order because they go on to say this: “Eventually the gentleman to the side of the desk explained the difference, that there are open wide access Gold lounges and United members clubs. What we had tried to enter was a members club.” From this it appears they tried to enter a club and were turned away. The representative at the front desk who turned them away from the club would have explained why and would have also been the person to ask for clarification on entrance rules not someone at concourse customer service.

    Finally having said all that there is no excuse for being treated badly. No one deserves to have slurs thrown at them. But at the same time, my own frequent flier status and knowledge of the system leads me to believe these guys were having some sour grapes and might not have been in the best mood when they approached the folks at customer service. I have never been ignored in an airport when i’ve approached staff with a polite but firm “excuse me…can you help me.” And yes i’m gay and i also happen to be black if that matters.

  26. JP says

    Brian, I hear what you’re saying. I dont believe the creator of the blog or the majority of the readers have racist intent. But, as you said, the posters are getting ridiculous. First it was when Fat joe tried to show support to us in his own way and now TI says something we don’t agree with…and we pin it on the race. Get out of here with that nonsense. I will say that there is a lot of pervasive homophobia in the black community but there’s a lot of pervasive homophobia IN THE COUNTRY! Not just African Americans.

  27. ludovico says

    So let me get this straight [no pun]; any time someone has a bad service experience, he/she should go directly to the media and make a federal case out of it–?? THIS qualifies as a news story-?? “Gee, my Big Mac was served cold and the worker didn’t properly thank me”–Quick! alert News7!! Seriously, people??

  28. Tom in long beach says

    Sorry this couple had a bad time. Not sure, if the whole story is being told.

    This is why I really try to avoid the “legacy airlines”. I really prefer airlines like Jet Blue and Southwest. As for entry into the lounges, Big deal who needs stale sandwiches and warm fruit. Just go spend $ 30.00 to have a real meal at a restaurant in the airport.

  29. oneway says

    Drama queens did a great job escalating the situation, didn’t they? Hardly an excuse for being called faggots, but this is not exactly Rosa Parks material.

  30. says

    those that view this story and jump right into talk of “blacks” do one thing and one thing only – they prove that the racism of their parents has indeed been passed down onto them.

    keep hating blacks, folks. wont’ change the fact that your parents resent having your gay asses for sons.

  31. HAZ says

    My partner and I endured a similar situation last year with a United manager in Chicago. Although we weren’t called any slurs, we were treated rudely and condescendingly and when we asked to see the manager’s ID badge to verify his name, he refused, called security and initially had security refuse us boarding on our connecting flight to Frankfurt. There was much more to the story, which we communicated in detail to United customer service. We each received a $400 travel voucher, but it’s disappointing to see that ours was not an isolated incident.

  32. Brains says

    Yet again; another so-called couple trying to get something for nothing!

    My husband and me have flown United many years and to say they are homophobic is next to ridiculous!

    Let us get the story of two pushy kiddos trying to enter a lounge to which they are not entitled!

  33. says

    dookie, this is news because it fits the media template that gay people are discriminated against everywhere. I live in Baton Rouge, the DEEP SOUTH, and see very little anti gay action. Pretty much limited to fundamentalist churches, and fights between gay people at the gay bars.

  34. says

    Oh, and the Industrial Areas FOundation action group in Baton Rouge called Together Baton Rouge ignored both jewish and gay community activists to get their group going. Even though we were available, interested and ready. That is anti gay liberal bias.

  35. Polyboy says

    Jason and Gay American step up with the unsupported generalizations again.

    If Jason isn’t flogging misogyny, its racism. And he uses the same the same mealy mouthed, un-research supportted approach to sound as if he know what he is talking about instead of just spraying thinned bile.

    Gay American, if you have to resort to those generalizations, then you really know nothing about the population in question. Just call them n*ggers and get it out of your system instead of pretending to look at something from the eagle eye of reason.

  36. coemgenus says

    Ah yes, that much vaunted American “customer service”

    This sort of thing happens all the time – and yet as a visitor to the USA one is repeatedly told through gritted (perfect teeth) to have a nice day and that the “service” is so wonderful!!

    Give me France anyday!

  37. Alex says

    I dunno. Whether the couple was or wasn’t in the right what ever happened to customer service? I work in the health/medical field, and even the employees in the facility I work at are mandated to attend customer service and relations training.

    The “faggot” comment was definitely unforgivable, but just from a customer and business perspective Rodney Hill would either be fired or demoted.

  38. Kevin J says

    I faced a similar situation in Spokane (GEG) a few years ago, also with United employees. That employees stand around the counter and ignore the customers (only customers!) in line is painful enough. Then to be condescended to gets the easily resolved original situation (UAL changed a departing flight time from GEG without rebooking my successive flights) escalated to flared tempers. Then we were threatened with not just denial of boarding but removal from the airport. I’m surely one of the most laid back, easy going travelers in North America. I do admit, however, to having an extensive customer service background with an emphasis on training and managing front line employees. Nothing, at any point in my dealings with UAL that day indicated anything but contempt and derision for their customers and any understanding as to why good service can insure ones job security and a prosperous future for the company they work for. Truly an avoidable situation. By the way, the airport security guard that was called to escort us away from the counter and to screening told us it was no big deal. He was called to that very counter (UAL) at least once a morning to escort disgruntled customers away.

  39. Rich says

    I quite flying United 4 years ago in favor of Southwest. I’ll never use them again if I can avoid it. I complained there was no entertainment on the flight and the attendant said,”We’re just out of receivership, how about you donate some money to United so we can afford entertainment again.” I swear to God. I complained. Got a $50 flight voucher as an apology and never used it. $50 off of an overpriced flight does not buy me off. I’m for sale, sure, but not that cheap.

  40. rafi says

    Good Christ, it’s amazing how good some of you are at missing the point.

    Whether these two guys drama queens, whiny assholes, or arsonists is completely irrelevant. There is never — NEVER — a justification for calling anyone a faggot in public. The fact that some of you think they deserve it for maybe being jerks (based on one article, by the way) speaks a lot to the slow movement of gay rights. If gay guys are okay with a slur being used because someone *might have been rude*, then why the hell would anyone else think anything of it?

    I’m withholding my judgment of any of these people (something a lot of you should try to do more often) until more comes out, but IF Rodney said that word at any time for any reason, he should be fired. And IF these two guys made it up to get attention, we should hold their feet to the fire for libeling Rodney and making the rest of us all look bad.

  41. Peter says

    This guy Hill has got a-lot of explaining to do! I cannot believe an airline employee would do this when there are so, so many gay people who work in the airline/travel industry. I am a retired airline employee and this jackass should be fired!

  42. Brian says

    Rafi, This thread has gone in a few different directions, but I’d say by and large that 99% of the commenters agree with you, the use of the word is unforgiveable (Pete being a glaring exception). The only disagreement is whether Rodney said what’s he’s accused of saying. Some commenters believe the complaint in its entirety, I think more believe the complainants were partly at fault and that they may have made up the faggot part to retaliate against him. I’m tentatively in that camp, reasoning that, although airline employees are often rude, they know a word like that is a firing offence and they usually dont care enough to risk that. Nobody (except Pete) thinks Rodney called them faggot justifiably.

  43. crystal says

    well said Lee. why is race even being bought up as an issue. and this guy could be Cuban, Native American, middle eastern. i didnt see anything about him being black. there are any black men in the gay community that were out and proud well before it was socially “cool”. they fought and got disowned and killed, many times by their own familys for being gay. then by the community for being black amd gay. so lets not let 1, maybe black ,monster be used as a grneralzation for all black men. my other point is, i dont care what was said by this couple. bottom line is that they are customers. there is a way to handle situations as an employee. he chose to handle it his own way so he should definitely be fired. zero tolerance. im not surprised by this from united. ive witnessed their poor customer service and biased attitudes towards “undesirables” i say boycott!

  44. Dan says

    To be fair these guys probably shouldn’t be trying to push their luck with regards to gaining access…the problem here is the obviously rude attitude towards these two guys! They r suppose to be dealing with the public and clearly failing at their jobs! Further more….faggots?! That bloke needs sacking from his job! If it were the other way rnd and they called him a nigher it be a different stry! The airline needs to reevaluate its stand on their employees and sort this out!

  45. Quint King says

    While this will certainly draw out ire from some, since 9/11 an airport has become a quasi US military interest, even in the private lounges. It’s sad to say, but in an airport YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS, gay or not. This means the employees of the airline industry have enormous power to hassle or lie to have you imprisoned. Not a smart place to make a fuss if you want to get to your destination.

    It really stinks.

  46. Stephen Q says

    There is ALWAYS an unheard side to the story. Need to hear both sides guys, before you draw conclusions. I fly United and they are USUALLY friendly and helpful.

  47. Easyroad says

    People have a strong allegiance to Airlines around here, it seems. Reminds me of Penn State. Do you people work at United, or is it the “Institution” of the US Customer Service that you can’t see being tarnished? It’s intriguing, I must say…

    This is beyond an F-Word. This is bad customer service which escalated into outright hate. It’s inexcusable and could happen to anyone – which makes it even more surprising to me that people are defending it.

    There’s no reason to believe the couple were lying (in fact, I think they were quite classy) – and even if they WERE bitchy, good employees would “kill them with kindness”. It’s funny how people ask for patience and to “wait for the other side” while showing no restraint when it comes to blaming the victims for this and that. So much hypocrisy.

  48. Me says

    Sounds like yet another upset ‘couple’ not getting their way and pissing about it. And then throw an ‘angry’ black man into the mix and you have 2 of the most over the top whiney groups of people having an argument. Give me a break, you didn’t get to go sit in the ‘big boy’ area and the manager hates same sex couples. Get over it, deal with the names, you aren’t three and this society is rude, disgusting and sickening. Welcome to America.

  49. Todd says

    Based on the facts reported, they were not entitled to lounge access. Elite frequent fliers only get lounge access when traveling on an international itinerary. Obviously homophobic comments are wrong, but they were very likely being pushy and unreasonable (and demanding something to which they were not entitled).

  50. Paul R says

    I think a lot of the reason some people aren’t sympathetic to these guys is that the description of what happened makes them sound like unpleasant people wanting something they weren’t entitled to receive. Not to mention that flying on Thanksgiving weekend is hell on earth for everyone involved—customers and staff.

    I also would suggest that the guy who wrote the account of what happened is racist, if only because of comments like “reading a magazine on hair and nails” (codeword: she’s black) and “I am the manager (said in a patronizing tone)” (how can that be said too patronizingly?)

  51. says

    I Definatly beleive tha t the situation needs to be handled immediate with that one individual but if u make a generalizationa out the entire community of African Americans what makes u any better?

  52. Easyroad says

    Paul R, weren’t they entitled to have someone help them? All they wanted was to ask a question – isn’t that what customer service is for? And how are they any less sympathetic than the staff, who made no effort to be helpful in any way – or the manager, who proceeded to insult them?

  53. David says

    I don’t know which concerns me most, the homophobia at United Airlines or the racism in the comments here.

  54. Paul R says

    Easyroad, I wasn’t saying that was my opinion because I don’t have all the facts. I was simply saying that he comes off like a bit of a jerk.

    And as many people have said, as frequent fliers they should have known what benefits, clubs, member room, etc. they where entitled to enter. Airlines are very clear on those.

    We only have a one-sided perspective. Moreover, I fly on United all the time and have never been treated poorly. It’s not my airline of choice–far from it–but it’s what my employer prefers. I’m not defending hate speech, but there’s always the chance that the guy said “idiots” both times instead of “idiots,” then “faggots.” They sound quite similar, and unless the manager is truly stupid, there’s no way he yelled it at them. So there’s a chance they heard what they wanted to hear.

    I hate the racist comments on this post along with the assumption that gays are always in the right. That’s not self-loathing, that’s reality.

  55. Paul R says

    Of course, calling customers idiots is also unacceptable. But again, we don’t know the full story. Instead we’re all speculating, which is pointless.

  56. truthteller says

    calling customers idiots and faggots is never ever okay under any circumstances and especially from someone in customer service.

    A big part of customer service is dealing with upset and even irate customers in a daily basis. You are trained to handle those customers and there is no justification for that kind of behavior from a manager.

    I work in customer service and I get all kinds of customers from the polite to the abusive. I understand that is part of my job and I try not to take it personal. I work to deescalate the situation and offer the best solution available to the customer. I have never been disrespectful to a customer and let alone used hate speech against them. I would be terminated immediately and that is what should happen to that manager if the accusations prove to be accurate.

  57. Flying United is a mistake says

    United has insulted me, cursed at me, cussed me out, lied to me and lost my bags countless times in the past, all without shame.

    The only reason they haven’t made a homophobic statement to me in the torrent of abuse that their inept, miserable employees dish out to hapless passengers is because one day I wised up and realized that American Airlines was a vastly superior carrier with much better customer service.

    Vote with your feet. You’ve got a choice in air travel.

  58. says

    From Gay American
    Look I don’t care what color anyone is….purple,blue,black, whatever….but its becoming clear recently that the “younger black generation” has NO problem throwing “words” around….my commwent was to point out that – its easy to throw hurtful words around..when you’ve never had to Fight for your Rights/ or for just simple Respect as a human being…when all those Rights were there when you were born. ..thats all. Again…..I just wish people would Treat others,as they Themselves wish to be Treated..period.

    Posted by: Gay American | Nov 28, 2011 12:11:23 PM

    Well Gay American first of all this statement was hurtful #1 I simply don’t believe you have any Black friends gay or straight! And since you keep saying the young Black generation is doing this. Have you met the Old White Republican Party?

    What is the differencr between a slur and someone taking away your rights???

    And another thing I don’t believe Andy Towle is prejudice. But I do believe certain articles that he posts knows is going to do just what it is doing now. He’s know dummy he knows how to get the hits!

  59. ELI says

    But John Johnson they’re still not as ugly as your parents. Maybe you could teach your mother how to shave her beard she would look better.

  60. Easyroad says

    Paul R, in the same way you talk about an “assumption that gays are always in the right”, it can be said that some are making an assumption that people who work at United are always in the right.

    Why do people think it’s more likely that this couple made it all up? Is it so hard to believe that a customer service could ever be less than perfect? Is this a “gay men always blow things out of proportion” or a “gay men are always looking for attention” thing? If so, that’s just as despicable as the racist comments.

    With all the reports of gays and lesbians being kicked out of hotels, malls, flights and all sorts of places, you’d think that Towleroad readers would know better.

  61. steve says

    First off, no one deserves to be spoken to in a condescending tone. No customer service person should call customers “idiots”, let alone anything else.

    But let me play devil’s advocate here. The guy doesn’t even pronounce the status correctly for the airline. “Gold Status” with Star Alliance, of which United is a member, is earned by flying a great deal with a Star Alliance member airline. Anyone who achieves that level knows that United Clubs, or the lounges of other airlines, are reserved for members, or for people traveling internationally in business class or higher. Period. Other than that, it’s $50 to enter.

    Now, I will say in their defense, that United’s club representatives are known by members as “dragons” in many circles. They’re generally the people that are too senior in the union to fire, and too surly for gate or ticket counter service. They’re mostly nasty women who have no business in a customer-focused job. Not all….but a large percentage. Ask any UA frequent traveler.

    What happened to these guys could happen in any business, at any airline in the US, or at any store, restaurant, hotel, etc. It has nothing to do with the airline. It’s just plain ignorance.

    In being fair, I put half the blame on these guys for trying to enter a club without a membership of the proper credentials.

  62. Danny says

    I am the first to say United sucks generally in there customer service, but, being in customer service, gay and knowing lots of drama queens I do have alot of questions on where the real truth is. The fact that they have to bring the race issue in tells me alot about where they stand and sounds like they dont travel well.
    I travel a great deal and the last thing you want to do is piss off a airport person.
    They can may your life a living hell.

  63. Evji108 says

    Sounds to me as if they picked this fight themselves. It is not necessary to call customer service people out when they are not as attentive as you think they should be, this kind of thing happens every day and you need to choose your battles. This doesn’t excuse Mr Hill from calling them the the ‘f’ word, but if they had more sense it wouldn’t have escalated to that level in the first place. My father would have said “you just missed a great opportunity to keep your mouth shut”

  64. Steve says

    I am a United Airlines employee and to read so many generalizations about the airline is so wrong. First off, I can tell you that the people that work the United Club are very experienced agents. They are not allowed to be sitting around reading magazines. Do I believe what these gentlemen said? For the most part, I do believe that some of this happened. We go through extensive sensitivity and anti-discrimination training. To call another employee or customer such a name is definitely call for disciplinary action. So, I’m sure that the manager involved may lose his job. On the other hand, I have to side with some of the other posters here in saying that there are 2 sides to the story and we’re not hearing it all. That is because UAL employees are not permitted to speak to the press. Also, to clear up a few things about United employees, please keep in mind that these days alot of employees in customer service are contracted out and don’t actually work for the airline. Also, many of them work for United Express, which is separately owned and operated from UAL. Also, to the poster who stated that they received no inflight entertainment, that again, could only be on a United Express flight since all of our planes are equipped with inflight entertainment. I do feel terrible that the two gentlemen involved received such awful treatment from our airline, but I do pride myself in working for a company that hires employees of all kind and allows zero tolerance to any kind of harassment, whether it be verbal or physical.

  65. says

    I don’t care if they tried to get into a lounge they shouldn’t.
    I don’t care if the individual was black or blue.
    I don’t care of there was another side to the story.

    No one uses the word “faggots” and lives !

  66. says

    As a senior lecturer in Client Service at a tertiary level college in Cape Town, South Africa I want to say how appalled I am by the treatment the two gentlemen in question experienced at the hands of the airline employee. Clearly there are more factors pertaining to this story but, having said this, just the fact that the episode has been broadcast on FaceBook as well as Towelroad is an indication of how serious the reaction has been. The airline in question needs to take very serious action in order to mitigate the fall-out that will result if this scenario is allowed to go unchecked.

  67. hola says

    the rules on red carpet clubs are not that clear, sometimes u get in and sometimes u dont. plus they are changed with the CO/UA merger and if u add in partner lounges it gets even more complicated.