In response to growing concerns over its treatment of blacks, the nation’s largest social justice advocacy organization has issued a travel advisory warning African Americans about their safety and well being when patronizing American Airlines or traveling on American Airlines flights.
“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,” a statement read.
Among the incidents they say suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias include an African-American man being 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.
In another case, an African American woman booked first-class tickets for herself and a traveling companion only to have them switched to coach 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.
On yet another occasion, a black 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.
Historically, the NAACP has issued travel advisories when conditions on the ground pose a substantial risk of harm to black Americans, and we are concerned today that the examples cited herein may represent only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ when it comes to American Airlines' documented mistreatment of African-American customers."
“All travelers must be guaranteed the right to travel without fear of threat, violence or harm,” stated Derrick Johnson, newly elected President and CEO of the NAACP. “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.”