The NAACP has issued a warning to black travellers about flying with American Airlines after a series of “disturbing incidents”.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) warned African-Americans to exercise caution when traveling on American Airlines, citing a pattern of “disrespectful” and “discriminatory” behavior from the carrier.
The NAACP is a civil rights organisation in the United States, formed in 1909 to advance justice for African Americans.
On Tuesday, the organisation released the following statement: “The NAACP for several months now has been monitoring a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines. In light of these confrontations, we have today taken the action of issuing national advisory alerting travelers—especially African Americans—to exercise caution, in that booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions. This travel advisory is in effect beginning today, October 24, 2017, until further notice.”
The NAACP provided four recent incidents when black passengers were said to have been discriminated against:
- 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;
- Despite having previously booked first-class tickets for herself and a traveling companion, an African-American woman’s seating assignment was switched to the coach section at the ticket counter, while her white companion remained assigned to a first-class seat;
- On a flight bound for New York from Miami, the pilot directed that an African-American woman be removed from the flight when she complained to the gate agent about having her seating assignment changed without her consent; and
- An African-American woman and her infant child were removed from a flight from Atlanta to New York City when the woman (incidentally a Harvard Law School student) asked that her stroller be retrieved from checked baggage before she would disembark.
American Airlines responded to the travel advisory with a public letter to its employees.
“We were disappointed to learn of a travel advisory issued by the NAACP regarding American Airlines. 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,” the letter read.
In August, the NAACP also issued a travel advisory for the state of Missouri warning African-Americans to “exercise extreme caution” because of high rates of black drivers being stopped by police.