NAACP issues American Airlines travel warning after 'pattern of behavior'

Benjamin Raven, Lynne Sladky, mlive

The NAACP released a national travel advisory warning African Americans about flying with American Airlines after "several months" of monitoring this week.


The advocacy group said in a Tuesday, Oct. 24 news release that they are warning travelers "to exercise caution, in that booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them (to) disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions" until further notice.

American Airlines is the world's largest airline and is located in Fort Worth, Texas.

In an interview with the Associated Press, NAACP CEO Derrick Johnson said that they aren't telling people to boycott American Airlines but to be on "alert" after a certain pattern of behavior.

The NAACP provided four examples regarding African-American travelers and American Airlines:

A man was forced to give up his seat on a flight from Washington D.C. to Raleigh-Durham "because he responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments" by two white passengers.
An African-American woman was switched from the first-class seats that she paid for to coach while the white person she was traveling with was allowed to remain in first-class.
A pilot during a flight from New York-Miami ordered an African-American woman off the plane after he found out she complained to the gate agent about having her seat changed without consent.
An African-American woman and her infant were removed from an Atlanta-New York City flight when the mother asked if her stroller could be retrieved from checked baggage before leaving.

"The growing list of incidents suggesting racial bias reflects an unacceptable corporate culture and involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random," Johnson said in the release. "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."

This is the NAACP's second travel advisory it has ever issued with the first coming earlier this year against the entire state of Missouri. Its Missouri Chapter warned about "what could happen in Missouri" while encouraging those entering the state to bring "bail money and by letting family and friends know they are traveling to Missouri."

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker sent out a letter to the company's entire staff, which was shared as a news release Wednesday morning. Parker wrote that he was disappointed to learn of the travel advisory directed at them specifically, and that he has reached out to the NAACP to meet with them and listen to their concerns.

"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 - we do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind," Parker said in the memo. "We have reached out to the NAACP and are eager to meet with them to listen to their issues and concerns.

"As we work through this in concert with the NAACP, please keep doing the great and noble work you always do: treat our customers and each other with respect; connect diverse groups of people with each other and allow them to see the world; make the world a smaller and more open place; and do it professionally and safely."

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Evonne is a Jr editor who is an aspiring actress and news reporter. She enjoys being on social media and socializing with others.