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A civil rights organization may warn Black travelers from using American Airlines after a spate of racial-discrimination claims

Pete Syme   

A civil rights organization may warn Black travelers from using American Airlines after a spate of racial-discrimination claims
  • The NAACP has warned American Airlines it could caution Black passengers away from the carrier.
  • It follows a lawsuit alleging eight Black men were unfairly removed from a flight.

A civil rights organization has warned American Airlines that it could issue an advisory cautioning Black passengers about potential discrimination.

The annoucement from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), comes as a result of a lawsuit filed against American Airlines by three Black men last month.

Alvin Jackson, Emmanuel Jean Joseph, and Xavier Veal boarded an American Airlines plane in Phoenix in January.

The three men — who said they had never met before and weren't seated together — were removed from the plane, along with five other Black men, the lawsuit said.

The complaint says an airline representative told the men they were removed from the flight because a someone had complained about an offensive body odor.

The body odor complaint came from a white male flight attendant, the lawsuit said.

It added that the men were then allowed to reboard the flight, which was delayed for over an hour as a result.

"Imagine a flight attendant ordering every white person off a plane because of a complaint about one white person. That would never happen. But that is what happened to us. There is no explanation other than the color of our skin," the plaintiffs said in a statement shared with Business Insider.

In 2017, the NAACP issued a travel warning against American Airlines following several reports of discrimination against Black passengers. The warning was lifted the following year after the carrier agreed to terms, including the creation of a diversity, equity, and inclusion advisory council.

"Amidst the resurgence of attacks on DEI, American Airlines disbanded the panel in 2023," said Derrick Johnson, the president and CEO of the NAACP, in a Tuesday statement.

"Recent discriminatory actions from company employees prove that there is a dire need for continued accountability and resolution to this clear pattern," he added.

Earlier this year, a former judge said she was racially discriminated against by American Airlines as a flight attendant made her use an economy bathroom even though she was stting in first class.

Johnson called on American Airlines to bring back the DEI panel and meet with the NAACP to work on a path forward.

He added: "Without a swift and decisive response, the NAACP will be forced to reinstate an advisory against the airline."

In a statement sent to Business Insider, the company said: "At American, every customer should feel valued and represented and have a positive experience while traveling with us."

"We have worked with the NAACP to institute education and training programs to address issues of bias on our aircraft and within our hiring practices to eliminate bias and create a workforce and customer experience that represents the customers we serve."




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