SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Orange County supervisors Tuesday announced it will not award additional flights for next year to United Airlines or any airlines at John Wayne Airport until they promise to follow federal laws that prohibit gender, race and age discrimination.
The move came after Mary Campos claimed a gate agent moved her from her seat on a United Airlines flight out of John Wayne Airport last month because two monks refused to sit next to her claiming their religion forbids them from sitting next to a female.
“She was reassigned her seat because she’s a woman. When we found out about that I know all of us – we’re very offended by that,” Supervisor Todd Spitzer said. “I’ll be darned if I’m going to allow women to be moved to back of that plane like Rosa Parks was during the civil rights movement. That’s not going to happen in Orange County.”
“I applaud Orange County Board of Supervisor. That’s awesome. And I think that’s the kind of stance all airports need to take to make sure that airlines are enforcing the same kind of policy,” Campos told CBS2/KCAL9’s Stacey Butler Tuesday night.
She said United still has not reached out to her to apologize and has not mentioned anything about changing its policy. So she said she will keep up this fight.
“The toughest part is that to date, United still hasn’t had anything more than canned responses. I’m not going to let it go because our daughters and other females deserve that,” Campos added.
“What would happen if you had an all-female flight attendant crew?” Board Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett asked. “What if there were female pilots and co-pilots? This goes way beyond discrimination of passengers. We’re talking about personnel on the flights.”
Spitzer asked United to attend Tuesday’s supervisor meeting. Instead, the airline issued a statement:
“We regret that our handling of the seat assignments has caused concern. We have zero tolerance for discrimination against any protected characteristics including gender. We have reached out to Ms. Campos to discuss her concerns. Our goal is to provide safe and comfortable travel for all of our customers and we regret that Ms. Campos was unhappy with the handling of the seat assignments on her flight. United holds our employees to the highest standards of professionalism and has zero tolerance for discrimination.”
The county’s contracts with airlines do ban discrimination, but do not include all of the classes of people covered by federal law.
So Supervisor Michelle Steel moved to include all of the federal law’s protected classes in the county’s contracts.
At its Oct. 25 meeting, the board will get an update on renegotiated contracts and consider passenger load allocations for the airlines.