*The NAACP is warning black passengers to be on guard when traveling with American Airlines after noticing “a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers.”
The group issued an advisory late Tuesday, saying the incidents “suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias” and advised travelers to exercise caution.
“Booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them [to] disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions,” the advisory said.
The NAACP in a news release listed four examples of what it called “possible racial bias,” although it didn’t provide details about the passengers involved or when the alleged incidents occurred.
According to the group, one incident involved a black man who had to give up his purchased tickets from Washington, D.C. to Raleigh-Durham International Airport because he “responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments” made by two “unruly white passengers.”
In another case, the group says, a black woman and her infant child were taken off a flight from Atlanta to New York when she asked that her stroller be retrieved from the checked baggage before she got off the plane.
American Airlines (AAL) spokeswoman Shannon Gilson said the company was “disappointed” to hear about the NAACP’s advisory and is “committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone.”
“Our team members — a diverse community of gate agents, pilots, and flight attendants — are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds,” she said.
In response to NAACP President Derrick Johnson’s call for an audience with the airline’s leadership, Gilson said representatives from the organization would be invited to the company’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.
“We are committed to having a meaningful dialogue about our airline and are ready to both listen and engage,” she said.
Johnson said the NAACP’s “growing list of incidents … involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random.”
In August, the organization issued a travel advisory for Missouri, citing several discriminatory incidents in the state as reasons for individual visitors to travel with “extreme caution.”
It said at the time that the Missouri advisory was the first ever issued by the organization, at the state or national level.