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United now “official airline” of Equality Illinois

Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014

* from a press release…

Two major Illinois institutions today welcomed a unique partnership, as Equality Illinois announced that Chicago-based United Airlines is becoming the Exclusive Airline for the state’s oldest and largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans.

The partnership makes United the first choice for air travel by Equality Illinois.

“We are the first statewide LGBT equality group in the country to enter into such an Exclusive Airline arrangement,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. “That we are able to do that with United, our own Illinois-based carrier that is also an industry leader in its LGBT workplace initiatives, is especially meaningful.”

“We’re proud to launch this great partnership with Equality Illinois – an organization committed to supporting the diversity that reflects United’s customers, employees and ‘Working Together’ culture,” said Nene Foxhall, the airline’s executive vice president of communications and government affairs.

United was the recipient of the 2013 Equality Illinois Business Leadership Award at the annual Equality Illinois Gala last February, a recognition given to companies that demonstrate remarkable vision, courage, and leadership in the effort to achieve full equality for LGBT individuals in Illinois.

“United was one of the earliest U.S. corporations to prohibit discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and, later, gender identity,” Cherkasov said when announcing the award last February. “The company has also continually earned a perfect score on the annual Corporate Equality Index.”

Cherkasov said that under the “Exclusive Airline” agreement, Equality Illinois staff, board members and key supporters will be turning to United for flights to business meetings, and United will be supporting the ongoing work of Equality Illinois to secure full LGBT equality.

I wonder if the anti gay marriage types could score a similar corporate deal. Probably not.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - MrJM - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    I wonder if the anti gay marriage types could score a similar corporate deal.

    Maybe they can work something out with ValueJet…

    – MrJM

  2. - Mongo - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    or Virgin Airlines?

  3. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    Could anti-gay marriage types work out such a deal? Sure. The company just wouldn’t be allowed to do business in Chicago. Just ask Chik-Fli-A.

    Valuejet would have to land in Indy.

  4. - anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    Probably not is right.

    Proponents of traditional marriage have not spent millions of dollars to buy access.

    Follow the money… gays have influence because they have more disposable income to play politics.

  5. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    Air Zimbabwe?

    Just kidding, just kidding. It’s a joke.

  6. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    ===Proponents of traditional marriage have not spent millions of dollars to buy access.===

    Don’t kid yourself. NOM spent big, big bucks in Cali and elsewhere.

  7. - Toure's Latte - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    United? This isn’t some bizarre joke right? You sure this isn’t some convoluted ploy to shame people into flying a horrible airline?
    Some of the user comments are priceless.

  8. - Catrike - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    Air Nigeria. No joke.

  9. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 2:37 pm:

    This makes me a happier member of United MileagePlus… Now if only the ORD service was slightly better. :)

  10. - LincolnLounger - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    It’s difficult to get that fleet of Dodo birds scheduled for regular service.

  11. - anon - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    I thought Equality Illinois was in Gallatin County.

  12. - Ghost - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    Rich you mean a coproate deal like making a certain ice cream the official desert of anti-same sex marriage advocates? I beleive that is doable….

  13. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    –The company just wouldn’t be allowed to do business in Chicago. Just ask Chik-Fli-A.–

    You can ask them when you pick up sandwiches at their restaurants at State and Lake or the Water Tower. Real out-of-the-way places in Chicago.

    The biggest brands in America filed briefs with the Supremes to strike down DOMA. It’s not just business, but they want to hire the best people as well, regardless.

  14. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 3:22 pm:

    Wikipedia left the American Library Association off that list. But then librarians kind of hate Wikipedia, so I guess they’re even now.

  15. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 3:39 pm:

    So if you fly United do you get a LGBT discount?

  16. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 3:51 pm:

    I believe the airline would have to be…wait for it…Aeroflot.

  17. - Henry Clay - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    Somehow this “Exclusive Airlines” stuff is reminiscent and carries about as much weight (and significance) as George Kastanzas father’s “Festivus Day” did in the old Seinfeld television series. (”Not that there is anything wrong with that—”).

  18. - Clean carpeting - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 4:47 pm:

    My mother still has an Electrolux vacuum cleaner that proudly displays a medallion on the canister touting it as “the official vacuum cleaner if the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics”.

  19. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 5:30 pm:

    We have a lot of Official things at work. I get a free membership in National Car Rental’s Whatever Club because they are the Official Car Rental Agency of This Place.

  20. - Pat C - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 7:58 pm:

    Of course, UA was one of the earliest since a major hub of theirs, SF, made it mandatory to offer Same sex benefits to be able to use SFO.

    Amazing how we forget that. What if Dallas made it mandatory not to offer them to use DFW??

  21. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 10:03 pm:

    Pat, you’re talking out your tukkus.

    You follow the laws in the places you operate. It’s called capitalism and representative democracy.

    No one made United become “an official airline” of anything. Not San Francisco. Not Chicago. Not Atlanta. Not Denver. Not Dallas. United operates in all those places.

    It’s marketing. For crying out loud, the National Hockey League is out in front for gay rights.

    The boys from Moosejaw and Quebec. Can you dig it? I knew that you could.

    It’s beyond me how in 2014 folks can think its their business to peek in bedrooms.

    In America? Leave it to Putin and the African despots.

    Got a lot of time on your hands?

    Mind your own business and it will keep you busy all the time.

  22. - doi chef - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:34 am:

    This is nothing more than another money grab. United don’t care who is on their plane, just so there credit card isn’t denied.

  23. - doi chef - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:35 am:

    *their (misspelled) I know how Rich is a stickler for grammar and spelling.

  24. - frmrILSIP - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 8:46 am:

    Sorry Word, but whether you like it or not, Pat C was at least partly correct.

    San Francisco passed an ordinance that would have required all contractors to the city (including airlines) to offer domestic partner benefits to their employees. This was challenged by the airlines and struck down in federal court in April 1998. American Airlines granted domestic partner benefits to their employees a few months later, in August 1998.

    Google is your friend.

    That being said, I have no problems with a business choosing to be the “exclusive business” for a particular organization. It’s their choice and their benefit or drawback depending on how people react. If Dallas passed a law saying that airlines with domestic partner benefits were not allowed to operate at their airport, I would hope it would be struck down too.

  25. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    ILSIP, what does complying with a San Francisco ordinance have to do with a marketing tactic of being the “official airline” of Equality Illinois? That’s not required by anyone.

  26. - crazybleedingheart - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    United’s international partner for flights to Ireland is Aer Lingus.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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