An American Airlines Boeing 777-223/ER departs from Shanghai Pudong International Airport on May 21, 2013. (Sergey Kustov via Wikimedia Commons)
An American Airlines Boeing 777-223/ER departs from Shanghai Pudong International Airport on May 21, 2013. (Sergey Kustov via Wikimedia Commons)

The nation’s oldest civil rights organization has issued an advisory for Black travelers to be cautious about flying on American Airlines.

The NAACP, which issued the advisory Tuesday, cited four incidents they said constitute “a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines.”

The organization said the patterns “suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines.”

“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,” the NAACP said of one incident.

In another case, a Black woman with first-class tickets was switched to coach while her white companion remained in first class. Two other incidents involved black women removed from flights after making routine complaints or requests.

The “growing list” of such incidents “reflects an unacceptable corporate culture and involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.

However, in a letter Wednesday to employees, American Airlines chairman and CEO Doug Parker strongly defended the company’s record of professionalism, safety and inclusivity.

“The mission statement of the NAACP states that it ‘seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination,’” Parker wrote. “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.

“We have reached out to the NAACP and are eager to meet with them to listen to their issues and concerns,” he said.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.