British Airways Comair has apologised to a gay couple after they were told to “cover up” when cuddling on a local flight.
According to the Star, British businessman Jamie Robertson and his South African partner Francois van Tonder have received an apology for the incident from the airline. The newspaper reported that Comair joint CEO Gidon Novick said that the matter had been resolved and “we’re in contact and talking about how we can help in future”.
The couple had earlier laid a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) about the matter. The incident occurred on February 11 on a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
Reports say that during the flight Van Tonder had his head on Robertson’s shoulder, while Robertson had his arm around his partner. The men were allegedly told by a stewardess to cover themselves with a blanket and were accused of being overly amorous.
After complaints to the airline, the company initially responded in a letter that “Any sensual or amorous behaviour between two or more people of whatsoever gender, sexual orientation or persuasion is out of place on board our aircraft and accordingly not condoned.”
However, Robertson told The Sunday Independent newspaper that, “I explained to her [the stewardess] my boyfriend was upset and needed comforting. I certainly did not have my tongue down his throat or my hand down his pants…”
“I would have behaved and have behaved exactly the same with my brother, girlfriends, boyfriends and mother on numerous flights with you and other airlines and never been asked to ‘cover it up’,” Robertson wrote to the airline.