May 23, 2018

NAACP warns African Americans about travel on American Airlines

26 October 2017, 12:38 | Kenneth Drake

New York activist Tamika Mallory was kicked off an American Airlines flight recently

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The organization said that the slew of recent incidents may only be the "tip of the iceberg" in American Airlines' documented mistreatment of black customers.

The NAACP has warned African-American travelers to be careful when flying with American Airlines.

The NAACP is warning African Americans that if they fly on American Airlines they could be subject to discrimination or even unsafe conditions.

American said Wednesday it's disappointed by the announcement and will invite the civil rights group to meet and talk about the airline. "We have reached out to the NAACP and are eager to meet with them to listen to their issues and concerns".

Another case involved a black woman who had first-class tickets for herself and a white companion, but was moved to coach at the ticket counter while her companion was kept in first class.

The organization did not detail every complaint it had recorded, but it did point to four specific incidents, which all involved African-American passengers being forced off American Airlines planes over the a year ago and a half, which, it said, suggested "a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines".

One such example involved a black woman and her baby being removed from an Atlanta to NY flight after she asked for her stroller to be brought in from checked baggage before leaving the plane.

In another instance, an African-American male passenger was asked to disembark a flight because he responded to "disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers", according to the NAACP's account.

It may seem excessive to have something similar in place in 2017, but the NAACP lists four troubling incidents reportedly involving American Airlines employees and customers in its travel advisory. The plane returned to the Atlanta terminal after a five-hour delay. "We do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind".

"In light of these confrontations, we have today taken the action of issuing a national advisory alerting travelers - especially African Americans - to exercise caution", Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO in the statement.

The NAACP deplores such alarming behavior on the part of airline personnel, and we are aware of these incidents only because the passengers involved knew their rights, knew to speak up and exercised the courage to do so promptly.

In August, the NAACP issued a travel advisory for the state of Missouri in aftermath of high-profile incidents of police brutality.

After being told she was being kicked off the plane, Mallory called the pilot a racist in a profanity-laced exchange.

The NAACP said it will keep its advisory in effect until their concerns are addressed and corrected.

This isn't the first high-profile domestic travel advisory issued by the NAACP.

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