NAACP issues travel advisory for American Airlines after discrimination reports
The NAACP is warning African American travelers not to fly on American Airlines after a “pattern of disturbing incidents.”
The advisory, effective as of Tuesday, says African American flyers reported unfair treatment by the massive airline several times in the last few months.
Travelers are warned to “exercise caution, in that booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.”
“The growing list of incidents suggesting racial bias reflects an unacceptable corporate culture and involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random,” recently elected NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement.
“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.”
The travel warning is the latest blow for the airline industry this year. In April, United Airlines came under fire after its employees forcibly removed a doctor who refused to give up his seat on an overbooked flight in Chicago.
NAACP officials cited four recent incidents in which an African American passenger reported discrimination by the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline. The instances don’t list flight numbers or dates in every case — nor the names of passengers.
In one instance, a woman said the pilot ordered her removed from a New York-bound flight out of Miami because she complained to the gate agent that her seat was changed without her okay.
It also alluded to the recently reported incident in which Boston mom Briana Williams and her 4-month-old infant were booted from a flight leaving Atlanta for New York.
The Harvard Law student said she was slated to visit the Big Apple to see relatives in Queens and Brooklyn, when the nightmare began on Aug. 21 — forcing her and her baby to sleep in the airport overnight.
A pilot kicked her off the flight after it was forced to return to its Atlanta terminal after a five-hour delay. She said asked staff to retreive her stroller from the checked luggage area, which staff refused to do.
“All travelers must be guaranteed the right to travel without fear of threat, violence or harm,” Johnson’s statement continued.
American didn’t immediately comment to the Daily News about the advisory, but a spokeswoman told CNN Money on Tuesday it was “disappointed” to see the warning.
“Our team members — a diverse community of gate agents, pilots, and flight attendants — are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds,” the spokeswoman said.
In August, the NAACP issued a travel advisory for the entire state of Missouri in wake of high-profile police brutality incidents. It was the first of its type issued by the organization in its 108-year history.