Prompted by several complaints of antigay animus by American Airlines employees in South American airports, the Transportation Security Administration will start allowing same-sex couples to pass through pre-flight security screenings together.
Two couples recently complained that American Airlines officials at the Medellin, Colombia airport refused to allow them to check into their U.S.-bound flights together; a lesbian couple was traveling with children and one of the women was separated from the rest of the family during the screening process. A third gay couple said they were separated at the Buenos Aires airport while trying to get on a plane to New York.
“I was told to get back to the end of the line when I protested,” Tomás Georgi told the Washington Blade, of his December 13 flight. “As a native of Argentina, I was fully able to discern the [disdain] and antigay sentiment with which I was treated.”
While American Airlines officials voiced regret at the experience, they also make clear that their South American airport personnel were following existing screening rules mandated by the TSA. Thankfully, the agency is working to make the passenger experience better for same-sex couples by changing their policy and allowing couples to go through security screenings together, according to an email received by the Blade.
“TSA has communicated to our Corporate Security folks that they are working on a technical change to its directive, and that pending that change, we can immediately begin screening same-sex spouses together,” wrote Alec Bramlett, an American Airlines attorney, in an email sent to one of the aggrieved passengers and obtained by the Blade. “We are working on communicating this change in procedures to our stations ASAP.”