Gay couple ‘humiliated’ by Emirates airline staff


Couple Lee Charlton and Jason says that the staff made fun of them when they said they were couple.

Mr Charlton says his family were locked in a secluded room for two hours and told their documents were not valid.

A British gay couple says they were left feeling “humiliated” after airline staff asked if they were brothers before they were allegedly locked in a secluded room for two hours and told they were no longer allowed on their flight.

Lee Charlton, 42, from Manchester said Emirates check-in staff laughed at him and his partner Jason when they confirmed they were a couple while travelling from Dubai to Durban with their son Kieran.

He said a woman working behind the check-in counter at Dubai airport gave him “quizzical looks” and summoned her manager after asking Mr Charlton whether either Jason or Kieran were his brothers.

The family was then allegedly shut in an airport back room for two hours without explanation told their documentation would not allow them to enter South Africa, according to Mr Charlton.

They nearly missed their connecting flight and were forced to rush across the large airport to catch it just in time, despite originally having a three-hour stopover.

Mr Charlton told media: “This was absolutely about our sexuality; there is no doubt about that. I was shocked, it was a horrible and stressful situation and I felt humiliated.

This was absolutely about our sexuality, there’s no doubt.

“We were very excited to travel long distance for the first time with our son Kieran and it was effectively spoilt by the staff from Emirates.

“I came out as gay aged 16 and I have never encountered this kind of behaviour towards my sexuality in the 26 years since.

“The Emirates manager looked at our documents and then said we may not be allowed to travel. He said ‘It’s South Africa, not us’.

“Without a doubt we were treated in an aggressive and demeaning way, and I just don’t understand why Emirates, a huge international corporation, doesn’t give cultural training to its staff overcome these kinds of prejudices.

“I am really not one of these people to jump on a political correctness bandwagon, but I felt I had to say something.”

Mr Charlton filed a lengthy letter of complaint to Emirates last Thursday and is yet to receive any reply from the airline.

Mr Charlton continued: “The most annoying thing about this is that I have to travel to South Africa a lot for work meetings and I am forced to fly with Emirates.

“The whole thing has really left a sour taste in my mouth and I’d think twice about visiting Dubai again in the future.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Dubai and gay people have been handed jail sentences of up to two years in the past.



  1. GET A CLUE!!! Get informed about where you travel and don't assume you can cram your sinful lifestyle down everyone's throat! Everywhere IS NOT the PC USA!!!! Same goes for the Brits!!!

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