The NAACP issued an alert Tuesday warning black travelers to use caution if they decide to fly with American Airlines because of what the organization described as a “pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers” over a period of several months.
According to SFGate, the travel advisory described one incident in which a black man was allegedly forced to give up his seat on a flight from Washington, D.C., to North Carolina following an altercation after two white passengers hurled discriminatory remarks at him. The NAACP also referenced another incident in which a black woman who booked two first-class tickets was forced to move to coach, even though her white companion was allowed to remain in first class.
“We are concerned today that the examples cited herein may represent only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ when it comes to American Airlines’ documented mistreatment of African-American customers,” the advisory reads.
SFGate notes that an American Airlines spokesperson has already responded to the advisory, saying that the company is committed to providing safe and positive travel experiences to everyone and that the airline intends to reach out to representatives from the NAACP in hopes of “having a meaningful dialogue about our airline.”
“We are disappointed to hear about this travel advisory as our team members—a diverse community of gate agents, pilots and flight attendants—are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds,” American Airlines spokeswoman Shannon Gilson said. “Every day, American is committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us.”
NAACP President Derrick Johnson said that the organization is also hoping to have a meeting to discuss the possible problems within the culture of the airline that result in these issues and allegations.
“We expect an audience with the leadership of American Airlines to air these grievances and to spur corrective action,” Johnson said in a statement, according to SFGate. “Until these and other concerns are addressed, this national travel advisory will stand.”
This is the second time this year that the NAACP has issued a travel advisory. Back in August, the organization issued its first-ever advisory toward a state, warning African Americans to be careful if traveling in Missouri, citing, among other issues, the recent legislation passed in the state that makes it harder to win discrimination suits, and the longtime and continued racial disparities in traffic enforcement.
Read more at SFGate.