Airlines all over the US are making it clear: If you’re gay, they want your money.
Well, if you’re not gay, they want your money as well. But if you are gay, they’re seeing dollar signs in their eyes. That’s because many gay couples are “DINCs” – people with “Dual Income and No Children.” That’s a highly desirable market because any couple with two incomes and no kids tends to have a lot of discretionary income to spend. And what better to spend on than travel?
It’s my understanding that American has had its aa.com/rainbow site for some time. Southwest just launched southwest.com/gaytravel and now Delta has delta.com/gaytravel – Rainbow Getaways, they call it.
So do these sites do any good? Maybe a little, but not really. I think it’s effective in a symbolic way. It’s a a signal to gay people that they don’t discriminate and they’re happy to make that public knowledge, even if it does mean the religious right will jump on them for it (which they inevitably will). From a practical point of view, though, it doesn’t seem to be worth much.
The best of the bunch seems to be American, which has links to news and events as well as to some special offers. Of course, these offers can be used by anyone, since I doubt the reservations agent is going to ask you to prove if you’re actually gay. My guess is that you’ll probably only find out about these offers on the gay site, so it makes it worthwhile to return whether you’re gay or not for that reason alone.
Delta and Southwest offer far less on their sites. Delta basically aggregates a couple of links to gay sites and nothing more. Southwest does a bit more than that – they have a gay event calendar as well as a list of gay friendly destinations, but do you really need that? How many times do gay people log on to find a flight and say, “Oh, San Francisco is gay-friendly? Who knew?!?”
I would think that more detailed information than that would be far more helpful. I mean, I’m sure you can find gay-friendly areas in just about any city in the country. I’d think that gay people would be more concerned about recommendations of places to avoid. For example, maybe a gay person was discriminated against at a certain hotel or restaurant.
Ultimately, that sort of detail is probably not something that’s the domain of the airline website. And that’s why these sites will never be truly useful other than as a symbolic gesture to show that they are gay friendly.
I’m curious to get some comments from gay people on what you think about these sites. Do these sites do anything for you?