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Another Southwest controversy: Lesbian kissing

Actress Leisha Hailey appears on stage to accept

Actress Leisha Hailey appears on stage to accept an award at the 20th GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles. (April 18, 2009) Photo Credit: AP, 2009

Southwest is no stranger to controversy when it comes to enforcing rules. Earlier this month, the airline booted Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong off a flight, apparently for wearing his pants too low.

And in the past, actor and director Kevin Smith was forced to get off a Southwest plane because he was deemed too fat to fly, he said. At a later date, Smith was at the center of another controversy when he was denied boarding because he arrived at the gate at the last minute (or, according to the airline, after the last minute).

Today's news focuses on "The L-Word" star Leisha Hailey who claims she was discriminated against for kissing another woman aboard a Southwest flight.

According to The Associated Press, the airline says other passengers complained because the behavior was "excessive," and Southwest is a family airline. The company says the actress was approached "based solely on behavior and not gender."  

The common thread all these incidents have is that all the subjects took to Twitter either during or immediately afterward.

So, we have three issues to discuss today:

First, is tweeting like a reverse, turn-the-tables-on-authority Big Brother, which can actually protect consumers? Is it like the little guy's answer to red-light cameras and illegal-parking sensors?

Secondly, while kissing in public isn't illegal, do passengers forfeit their rights when they buy a ticket on an airplane? Airlines do post rules on their websites, but the wording is very broad. When you read the terms and conditions on the Southwest site, it says "You may not engage in any conduct that is, or that Southwest Airlines deems to be, in violation of this Use Agreement. (Here's the User Agreement.)

And thirdly — and let's discuss this in a nondisparaging way please, fellow Direct Flighters — would excessive male-female kissing on a plane be considered as offensive as homosexual kissing on a plane apparently was in this case?

Photo: Actress Leisha Hailey is onstage to accept an award in April 2009 at  the 20th GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles.


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