On Tuesday, the NAACP released a “National Travel Advisory” warning African-American fliers to take caution when traveling via American Airlines. The statement was released in response to several reports made by African-American passengers to the NAACP regarding “disrespectful” and “discriminatory” behavior from American Airlines staff.
The NAACP also listed the numerous incidents reported that suggest, “a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines.”
Passenger names were not included in the original statement, but using the detailed incident descriptions, The New York Times was able to determine that the four separate events took place between April 2016 and October 2017, as well as identify the people involved.
One such incident involved Rev. William Barber, then president of the North Carolina NAACP, who was removed from an American Airlines flight after “exchanging words with two white passengers.”
Another incident involved passenger Rane Baldwin, who was moved to the back of the plane while her white friend was allowed to stay in her assigned seat in first-class.
He added that the travel advisory will stand until American Airlines leadership begins to take “corrective action.”
According to the Times, American Airlines spokeswoman Shannon Gilson stated that the company is “disappointed” and would like to invite NAACP representatives to speak with American Airlines leaders at their Fort Worth headquarters.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker has since sent staff members a message to further drive home that their mission aligns with that of the NAACP.
The NAACP urges those who have experienced similar racially-biased incidents aboard an American Airlines flight to share their story with the organization. Until a meeting of minds happens between the airline and the NAACP to discuss what changes can be made to better the travel experiences of Black passengers, the travel advisory will stay in place.