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United Airlines Manager Faces Gay Slur Claim From San Diego Couple

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A Thanksgiving weekend's travels turned out to be less-than-savory for one San Diego couple, who claim a United Airlines agent used a gay slur against them after a heated exchange.

As ABC Denver affiliate 7NEWS is reporting, Billy Canu and his partner say they were treated rudely when they asked about the United lounge at Denver International Airport on Saturday, and were called "faggots" by a manager after complaining of the incident.

"We are both Gold members with United/Star Alliance and have had no problem entering the lounges when traveling in Gold status," Canu wrote of the experience on his Facebook page. "We asked what the difference was with the Gold access to the lounges, but she could not help. She simply told us that Gold access was for international only as 'those tickets cost more' in a very condescending tone. Eventually the gentleman to the side of the desk explained the difference, that there are open wide access Gold lounges and United members clubs. What we had tried to enter was a members club."

Eventually, as Canu explained to 7News, a manager appeared, during which the exchange became even more heated after the couple were escorted from the area. "As we were walking away he goes ‘idiots,’” recounted Canu. “So, my partner turned around and started walking up to him and said, 'I'm sorry. What did you say?'"

"[The manager] says, ‘What faggots,’" according to Canu, who went on to note that he feared they wouldn't get home if they continued to pursue the situation. The manager's name has not been reported by the media, but a United Airlines spokesperson has released a statement on the incident, noting, “United does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We have received this complaint and are reviewing, and we will reach out to the customer directly."

Watch a broadcast news report on the incident here.

It's been a tough year for homophobic claims on airlines. In September, lesbian actress Leisha Hailey, who starred in the Showtime cable show "The L Word," said she was escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight for kissing a woman, while the airline says their behavior drew customer complaints.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article identified 7NEWS as a CBS affiliate. It is actually an ABC affiliate.

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