Skip to Main Content

Need help understanding your rights as an LGBTQ+ person or someone living with HIV? Visit our virtual Help Desk.

Case winning equal travel benefits for spouses of lesbian and gay employees of SkyWest Airlines.


Lambda Legal represented Gilbert Caldwell, an employee of SkyWest Airlines who worked at Palm Springs International Airport. Though Caldwell and his partner of 34 years were married in 2008 and California registered domestic partners, SkyWest refused to extend to the couple the same travel benefits on SkyWest-operated Delta Connection flights that heterosexual married employees received. That forced Caldwell to pay a fare for his spouse, 72-year-old Rev. David Farrell, under a “companion” program designed for friends. Spouses of heterosexual employees do not pay the fare.

Lambda Legal sent a demand letter to SkyWest and Delta Airlines warning the companies that their treatment of gay employees’ spouses and registered domestic partners violates not only the airlines’ own policies, but also California law. In March 2010, SkyWest announced that would offer equal travel benefits to its Delta-dedicated gay and lesbian employees with a same-sex spouse or domestic partner.


  • October 2009 Lambda Legal sends demand letter to SkyWest officials.
  • March 2010 After negotiating with Lambda Legal, SkyWest and Delta Airlines agree to offer lesbian and gay employees the same spousal travel benefits offered to heterosexuals.