NAACP Issues American Airlines Travel Advisory for Black Travelers

By Kenrya Rankin Oct 26, 2017

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a travel advisory on Tuesday (October 24) warning Black people about what it says are potential problems of flying with American Airlines.

From the advisory:

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 civil rights organization details several incidents that it says suggest a “corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias.” Among the incidents: A Black man was forced to give up his seats after responding to “disrespectful and discriminatory” comments from White passengers. A Black woman who booked first-class seats for herself and a White friend was forced to move to coach, while her friend’s original seat assignment was honored. A pilot forced a Black woman—Women’s March organizer Tamika Mallory—off a plane after she complained that her seat was changed without her permission. A Black woman and her child were pulled from a flight when she asked workers to retrieve her stroller before she deplaned.



“All travelers must be guaranteed the right to travel without fear of threat, violence or harm,” NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson said in the advisory. “The growing list of incidents suggesting racial bias reflects an unacceptable corporate culture and involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random. 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.”

Airline CEO Doug Parker issued a memo to staff about the warning, saying, “We fly over borders, walls and stereotypes to connect people from different races, religions, nationalities, economic backgrounds and sexual orientations.” Per CNN, Parker continued in the memo, “We do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind.” He also said the airline reached out to the organization.

The NAACP encourages travelers to report problems with American Airlines here.