NEWSFLASH! If you’re a person of color who is considering flying American Airlines, you may want to think again.
The NAACP has issued a warning to African-American travelers to be careful when flying, and notes “a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers”, specific to American Airlines.”
In a public advisory issued late Tuesday evening, Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, issues a travel advisory to all African-Americans regarding American Airlines, stating:
“All travelers must be guaranteed the right to travel without fear of threat, violence or harm.”
“The growing list of incidents suggesting racial bias reflects an unacceptable corporate culture and involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random.
We expect an audience with the leadership of American Airlines to air these grievances and to spur corrective action. Until these and other concerns are addressed, this national travel advisory will stand.”
Among the incidents that prompted the NAACP travel advisory are:
- An African-American man was required to relinquish his purchased seats aboard a flight from Washington, D.C. to Raleigh-Durham, merely because he responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers;
- Despite having previously booked first-class tickets for herself and a traveling companion, an African-American woman’s seating assignment was switched to the coach section at the ticket counter, while her white companion remained assigned to a first-class seat;
- On a flight bound for New York from Miami, the pilot directed that an African-American woman be removed from the flight when she complained to the gate agent about having her seating assignment changed without her consent; and
- An African-American woman and her infant child were removed from a flight from Atlanta to New York City when the woman (incidentally a Harvard Law School student) asked that her stroller be retrieved from checked baggage before she would disembark. (READ MORE)
American Airlines spokeswoman Shannon Gilson said the company was “disappointed” to hear about the advisory and is “committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone.”
“Our team members — a diverse community of gate agents, pilots, and flight attendants — are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds,” she said.
Gilson also addresses the NAACP’s call for an audience with the airline’s leadership and says representatives from the organization would be invited to the company’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.
“We are committed to having a meaningful dialogue about our airline and are ready to both listen and engage,” she said.