NAACP warns black passengers about traveling with American Airlines

Posted at 9:57 AM, Oct 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 09:57:30-04

The NAACP is warning African-American travelers to be careful when they fly with American Airlines.

In an advisory late Tuesday, the organization said it has noticed “a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines.”

It said the incidents “suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias” and advised travelers to exercise caution.

“Booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them [to] disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions,” the advisory said.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said in a memo to staff that the company was “disappointed” to hear about the NAACP warning.

He said the airline has reached out to the NAACP to meet with them. NAACP President Derrick Johnson had called for a meeting with the airline’s leadership.

“We fly over borders, walls and stereotypes to connect people from different races, religions, nationalities, economic backgrounds and sexual orientations,” Parker wrote in the memo, which the company released to reporters. “We do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”

The NAACP described four examples — including one in which it said an African-American woman and her infant child were removed from a flight from Atlanta to New York after she asked whether their stroller could be retrieved from checked baggage before she left the plane.

The NAACP didn’t provide the name of the woman or say when the events it described are alleged to have taken place. American Airlines didn’t comment on the specific allegations.

Johnson said the NAACP’s “growing list of incidents … involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random.”

In August, the organization issued a travel advisory for Missouri, citing several discriminatory incidents in the state as reasons for individual visitors to travel with “extreme caution.”

It said at the time that the Missouri advisory was the first ever issued by the organization, at the state or national level.