By No Vacation Required, on December 1, 2016

5 major travel brands that understand LGBT travelers

With safety and security once again top-of-mind in the LGBT community, we wanted to highlight travel brands—airlines and hotels—that have very LGBT-friendly programs and policies. As constant travelers, we could solely rely on our background both experiencing and working with many travel brands to create this list (and our personal experience has informed what shows up here), but we wanted to lean more into a less subjective measure. That is why we are shining a spotlight on some travel-related corporations (500 full-time employees or larger) that score above 90 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (ECI).

The HRC Corporate Equality Index is “an annual measure of how equitably large private businesses in the United States treat their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees, consumers, and investors.” We appreciate that the index evaluates an organization holistically, so as a consumer you can be confident that the corporations you support with your money support the rights of the LGBT community.

Before we get to the list, we want to thank Expedia, which also makes the list, for being way out of the closet when it comes to its support of the LGBT community. After all, you are reading a post written by a married gay couple who, as Expedia Viewfinders, are given a seat at the table along with writers representing other niches.

Alaska Air – We are longtime, very vocal fans of Alaska Airlines, and not just because our local airline knocks it out of the park in terms of service and on-time arrivals and departures. We also appreciate that they have been highly supportive of the LGBT community here in Seattle and across the destinations that they serve for many, many years.

American Airlines – American Airlines have some great things to brag about when it comes to LGBT equality. For one, according to our resources, they were the first major airline to include sexual orientation (way back in 1993!) and gender identity into their corporate nondiscrimination policies. They can also tout being the only major airline to earn perfect scores on the ECI every year since the index began.

Hyatt Hotels – Hyatt’s portfolio of hotels, including the ultra-chic Andaz concept, are among our favorites. We appreciate a consistently excellent customer experience, but the way they’ve embraced LGBT travelers and employees alike is more critical to us. Hyatt now has a solid track record of protecting LGBT employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as for providing health care benefits for domestic partners (among many other things).

Wynn Hotels – One of our favorite hotels in the world is Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Wynn Las Vegas’s smaller sibling. As we’ve written about before, sumptuous rooms and world-class service aren’t enough to earn that designation; we like the care that Wynn Hotels takes to make LGBT travelers feel right at home and cared for. One of those things is a dedicated Pride concierge who is available to cater to the specific needs, requests, and questions that LGBT travelers have.

Viewfinder Tip: Many brands, including our very own Expedia, have resources specifically for LGBT travelers.

Marriott International – We were aware of Marriott’s commitment to the LGBT community well before we were asked to be part of one of their Pride campaigns in 2015; it’s why we agreed and embraced the opportunity so fully. Beyond their customer facing campaigns highlighting LGBT equality (#LoveTravels was really special and touching), they have a “ONE” LGBT employee network that focuses on diversity initiatives and supports a broad array of LGBT efforts.

We’ve just scratched the surface of travel brands that made HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. Here are some more that deserve to be named for the especially great work they are doing.

  • Caesars Entertainment Corp.
  • Choice Hotels International Inc.
  • Delta Air Lines Inc.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group Americas
  • JetBlue Airways Corp.
  • Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group Inc.
  • Southwest Airlines Co.
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
  • United Airlines

Thank you to all of the organizations, large and small, that are doing their part to make the world more equitable and accepting. We appreciate it!

Which travel brands do you feel have done an outstanding job embracing the LGBT community?