NAACP Warns Black Passengers On American Airlines: ‘Exercise Caution’ Or ‘Don’t Fly’ Aboard Airline

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has issued a rare and strong warning to black passengers who plan to fly on American Airlines. The civil rights organization said it issued the alert to African-American fliers due to a worrisome pattern of biased behavior by the airline.

The NAACP is the first and largest organization that advocates social justice for people of color. The agency released a statement, as seen on its official website, to warn black passengers about “their safety and well being” when flying aboard or transacting business with American Airlines.

The civil rights organization said it issued the travel advisory for African-American passengers when “disturbing” information came to light about American Airlines’ alleged pattern and practice of discrimination and inequitable treatment towards blacks.

“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 said a string of “troublesome conduct” occurred over a span of time and raised red flags about the largest aviation provider of commercial flights. Officials said the incidents likely represent a systemic culture at American Airlines geared towards “insensitivity and possible racial bias” towards black airline customers.

According to a Time report, the NAACP “had no choice” but to warn blacks about using American Airlines for airline travel when reports surfaced that black passengers were being disproportionately removed from flights.

Among the four listed reasons the NAACP announced in its statement, one involves a black passenger who was allegedly compelled to relinquish their seat on a domestic flight from Washington, D.C., to Raleigh, North Carolina. American Airlines said the African American was removed after they responded to “disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers.” The type and manner of response are unclear.

In another report, a black woman’s seating arrangement was switched at an American Airlines ticket counter despite her having purchased first-class boarding passes for her and a white traveling companion. Reportedly, the Caucasian passenger was allowed to retain their seat, according to the NAACP’s statement.

American Airlines released a statement refuting the NAACP’s warning of discrimination and intentional targeting of African American passengers.

“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. Every day American is committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us.”

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