Kristina Antoniades (left), with her partner Merrin Hicks, has taken to Facebook to accuse Qantas of “blatant homophobia”. Photo: Facebook
A Victorian woman has accused Qantas of “blatant homophobia” after staff twice asked her female partner to change seats so that an elderly married couple could sit together.
Kristina Antoniades was preparing to board a flight from Brisbane to Melbourne with her partner, Merrin, and their daughter, Lily, on Monday when she claims staff told them their family would be separated to accommodate a married couple.
Ms Antoniades, whose family was travelling business class, said Qantas staff did not acknowledge “that we were a family” and that she argued the couple should not take priority over her family being seated together. She said the matter was eventually resolved and staff reissued her partner’s original boarding pass.
The Facebook post. Photo: Facebook
But the confusion continued mid-flight, Ms Antoniades said, when a Qantas staff member accused her partner of separating the married couple and demanded she produce her boarding pass.
“I thought that would be the end of it but once the plane took off the flight manager asked why Merrin was seated next to the man and his wife seated behind them,” she posted to Facebook.
“I again advised the flight manager that we were a family and wanted to be seated together. She asked me why I had taken it upon myself to move the wife away from her husband. I advised her that we were in our designated seats.
“She demanded to see our boarding passes. We produced them and again she asked why we were not allowing the married couple to be seated together.
“I again told her that Merrin was my partner and Lily our daughter. I told her we had just as much right to be seated together as the married couple.”
Ms Antoniades said her family remained in their designated seats but that the incident left her humiliated and in tears. She said she had never experienced “such blatant discrimination. It was a terrible experience and I am saddened that our daughter had to witness this,” she wrote.
It is understood there was some confusion during the flight because staff were working off an old passenger manifest.
A Qantas spokeswoman said staff had contacted the passengers to apologise for the “unfortunate misunderstanding”.
“We have been in contact with the passengers to apologise for the situation, where we were faced with two separate groups of customers asking to switch seats to sit together, including an elderly couple,” she said.
“Onboard, a misunderstanding occurred about the seating arrangement. This was an unfortunate misunderstanding and we’ve since apologised to the customer.”
The spokeswoman said as a gesture of goodwill Ms Antoniades had been offered extra Frequent Flyer points.
Qantas was heavily involved in this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras and is headed by openly gay chief executive Alan Joyce.