Black people warned against travelling with American Airlines after 'incidents of discrimination'

The organisation has documented a series of incidents involving African-American passengers

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Thursday 26 October 2017 08:21 BST
The NAACP has issued a travel advisory for passengers on American Airlines after a series of documented incidents of discrimination
The NAACP has issued a travel advisory for passengers on American Airlines after a series of documented incidents of discrimination (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) has issued a travel advisory warning African-American travellers to be careful when flying with American Airlines.

The social justice organisation has documented what it calls “a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines,” according to its statement.

It warns that passengers “booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.”

The NAACP has not yet provided dates and further details of the incidents and could not immediately be reached for comment.

However, in one instance raised by the group, an African-American female passenger and their fellow traveller, who was white, were booked in first class seats.

At the ticket counter, her ticket was changed to economy while her white companion was allowed to remain in first class. American Airlines appears to not have given a reason for the change to the passengers.

In another instance, an African-American male passenger was asked to disembark a flight because he responded to “disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers,” according to the NAACP’s account.

Another passenger was removed from a flight after she complained to a gate agent after having her seating assignment changed without her consent.

Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP said in a statement that the incidents documented are demonstrative of “behaviour that cannot be dismissed as normal or random.”

American Airlines Spokeswoman Shannon Gilson sent The Independent a statement that said the airlines have invited NAACP representatives to meet with the corporate team in Fort Worth, Texas. The statement did not go into details about the incidents raised by the NAACP.

We “are ready to both listen and engage,” said Ms Gilson.

American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker issued a message to employees of the company in which he said: “we were disappointed to learn of a travel advisory issued by the NAACP regarding American Airlines. The mission statement of the NAACP states that it 'seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination.' That’s a mission that the people of American Airlines endorse and facilitate every day.”

He encouraged employees to “make the world a smaller and more open place, and do it professionally and safely” as the airline works “in concert” with the NAACP regarding the advisory.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in