NAACP Threatens To Reinstate American Airlines Travel Advisory After ‘Recent Discriminatory Actions’

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An American Airlines flight arrives at Los Angeles International Airport during Memorial Day weekend on May 24, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin / Getty

The nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization is threatening to reinstate a travel advisory against American Airlines following “recent discriminatory actions” against Black passengers in what’s emerged as a pattern over the years.

The NAACP was reacting in part to a recent lawsuit filed by Black men who are suing American Airlines for “blatant and egregious race discrimination” after an alleged body odor complaint led to their removal. The lawsuit filed by a group of Black men claims they were removed from the flight in January after being approached by American Airlines representatives who demanded they leave the airplane.

“(O)nce they reached the jet bridge, they saw that several other Black men were also being removed from the plane. In fact, it appeared to Plaintiffs that American had ordered all of the Black male passengers on Flight 832 off the plane,” the complaint said.

Eight total Black men were removed from the flight “without any valid reason, based solely on their race,” the lawsuit added.

The NAACP previously imposed a travel advisory against American Airlines in 2017 but ended up lifting it the following year after saying the airline had finally made some significant headway in cutting down on discrimination incidents involving passengers of color.

But that progress ended last year, the NAACP’s president and CEO said.

“The removal of our travel advisory in 2018 came as a result of a commitment to deliver on key stipulations that would prevent future discriminatory acts, one of which was a diversity, equity, and inclusion advisory council,” Derrick Johnson said in a statement sent to NewsOne. “Amidst the resurgence of attacks on DEI, American Airlines disbanded the panel in 2023.”

The latest alleged incident is making the NAACP consider whether another travel advisory against American Airlines is needed, Johnson explained.

“Recent discriminatory actions from company employees prove that there is a dire need for continued accountability and resolution to this clear pattern,” Johnson said. “We encourage American Airlines to come revive the advisory panel and reconvene with the NAACP to devise a path forward that ensures equitable experiences for all American Airlines customers. Without a swift and decisive response, the NAACP will be forced to reinstate an advisory against the airline.”

The 2017 NAACP travel advisory specifically warned Black travelers that they could encounter racism from the airline. The announcement came after the NAACP advised American Airlines on diversity and inclusion after implementing the ban over “unsafe” conditions for African Americans.

American Airlines agreed to make big changes in a number of areas: diversity and inclusion gap research; implicit bias training for the airlines’ 130,000 employees; and the launch a discrimination complaint resolution process for workers and customers. The NAACP said the airline made a good effort to ensure their business was more comfortable for Black travelers and its staff members.

The travel advisory was lifted in 2018 after Johnson said American Airlines had “taken substantive action to begin to address implicit bias.”

Six years later, it’s apparently “déjà vu all over again.”

To be sure, American Airlines has a laundry list of documented instances of being accused specifically of racist treatment of Black passengers.

Aside from the new pending lawsuit, other notable instances include activist Tamika Mallory being kicked off a flight after a seat assignment dispute in 2017. The pilot ordered Mallory to leave the plane and displayed “white male aggression,” she said. Rapper Joey Badass was also racially profiled while on an American Airlines flight that same year, he said. A flight attendant told him he didn’t belong in first class, he tweeted.

Also in 2017, pundit Symone Sanders claimed in a tweet that American Airlines called the police on her because of a discrepancy over her luggage. She reportedly saw another man yell at customer service for 20 minutes and police were never called.

It was around that same time that American Airlines also led the aviation industry with the highest number of discrimination complaints.

And who could forget the legendary Rev. William Barber, organizer of the Moral Mondays progressive protest movement and president of the North Carolina NAACP, suing American Airlines after he said the company removed him from a flight because of his skin color?

Barber’s lawsuit in 2016 claimed that white passengers were being loud behind his seat, so he asked a flight attendant to handle the situation. But after one of the white passengers had borderline racist words about “those people” in reference to Barber, the police were called to remove Barber while the white men were allowed to stay on the flight, Barber’s lawsuit said. The American Airlines employee who rebooked Barber on a different flight allegedly told him that kind of racist scenario “tends to happen a lot” with the airline.

This is America[n Airlines].


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The post NAACP Threatens To Reinstate American Airlines Travel Advisory After ‘Recent Discriminatory Actions’ appeared first on NewsOne.

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