The NAACP has issued a travel warning for African-Americans thinking about traveling on American Airlines. In a statement the NAACP said:
“The NAACP for several months now has been monitoring a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines. In light of these confrontations, we have today taken the action of issuing national advisory alerting travelers–especially African-Americans–to exercise caution, in that booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory, or unsafe conditions. This travel advisory is in effect beginning today, October 24, 2017, until further notice.”
The organization says it has documented a series of recent incidents that “involve troublesome conduct by American Airlines” that suggests “a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines.” Particularly the NAACP notes four events:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
In response to the NAACP’s travel warning and American Airlines spokesperson said:
“We are disappointed to hear about this travel advisory as our team members–a diverse community of gate agents, pilots, and flight attendants–are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds. Every day American is committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us.”