Competition for lesbian and gay travel. Take your family on a trip with “family” friendly airlines.

Southwest Airlines is “the airline of gay and lesbian San Francisco,” for at least one year. The San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau and Southwest want to increase the number of gay and lesbian travelers visiting the city, so the $180,000 tourism campaign will focus on advertising and marketing – including ticket giveaways.

People using Southwest will need to fly into Oakland, and get trasportation via cab, rental car, or train to reach San Francisco. Southwest also flies to Fort Lauderdale, Fire Island, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, and Cape Cod.

American Airlines has been courting lesbian and gay travelers for several years. The company offers packages that combine air travel, hotel and rental car. AA also calls itself the “official” airline of Olivia Cruises and Resorts.

Earlier this year, Delta announced it’s the “official” airline of some 2007 U.S. Pride Festivals – including Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, New York City, Salt Lake City and San Francisco, and Gay Days in Orlando. The airline has been involved with Pride Festivals since 2003.

Air New Zealand is also hoping for more lesbian and gay travelers. The airline’s promoting a one-time “Pink Flight” – which is scheduled to depart from San Francisco on February 26, and fly to the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia. The 14-hour flight will include a going away party, goodie bags and entertainment.

Research indicates lesbians and gay men take longer trips and we spend more money on vacation than straight people. Harris Interactive says that – in 2006 – lesbian and gay travelers took about 53.2 million leisure trips while spending an estimated $40 billion while on vacation.

New York City is the favorite travel destination for U.S. gay men, followed by Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. NYC ranks third among lesbians, who ranked Las Vegas as the favorite U.S. travel spot, followed by San Francisco, New York and Provincetown.

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