NAACP issues travel warning for black passengers flying on American Airlines

The NAACP has issued a “travel warning” to warn African-Americans about the dangers of flying American Airlines.

In a news release on Tuesday, new NAACP President Derrick Johnson said that there have been several incidents of “incidents suggesting racial bias” that, he said, “cannot be dismissed as normal or random.”

The news release highlighted, what it called “troublesome conduct” of perceived racism, but did not provide many details, or context, for the incidents.

  1. An African-American man was required to relinquish his purchased seats aboard a flight from Washington, D.C. to Raleigh-Durham, merely because he responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers;
  2. Despite having previously booked first-class tickets for herself and a traveling companion, an African-American woman’s seating assignment was switched to the coach section at the ticket counter, while her white companion remained assigned to a first-class seat;
  3. On a flight bound for New York from Miami, the pilot directed that an African-American woman be removed from the flight when she complained to the gate agent about having her seating assignment changed without her consent; and
  4. An African-American woman and her infant child were removed from a flight from Atlanta to New York City when the woman (incidentally a Harvard Law School student) asked that her stroller be retrieved from checked baggage before she would disembark.

American Airlines did not respond to NBC News‘ request for comment, but did say it would invite the NAACP to meet with the company at its headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.

And its CEO, Doug Parker, issued a memo to employees expressing his disappointment.

“We do not and we will not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” he wrote. “We have reached out to the NAACP and are eager to meet with them to listen to their issues and concerns.”

The group said it issues travel warnings when it believes “conditions on the ground pose a substantial risk of harm to black Americans.” It issued its first travel warning for Missouri when it passed a law that made it tougher to sue businesses for racial discrimination.

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Carmine Sabia

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