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NAACP slaps American Airlines with travel advisory, warns Black travelers

26 October 2017

The NAACP on Tuesday warned black travelers about flying American Airlines, citing a series of "disturbing incidents".

The NAACP said it has heard of at least four incidents related to black travelers, which "suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias".

Now, the NAACP has issued a travel advisory for Black people flying with American Airlines.

American Airlines said in a statement it's disappointed by the travel advisory by the NAACP, but are ready to meet with representatives to work it out. "We really don't want to have that same kind of an experience to continue - great time to make a correction".

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The advisory also cites an incident in May in which an African-American woman was allegedly bumped to coach despite having upgraded to a first-class ticket (her white traveling companion was not similarly moved); another listed complaint appears to be the case of Tamika Mallory, an activist who was one of the organizers of the Women's March on Washington.

A Boston mother reported that she and her infant child were removed from a flight from Atlanta to NY when the woman, "incidentally a Harvard Law School student", the NAACP said, asked that her stroller be retrieved from the checked-baggage area before she would get off the plane.

In 2016, Rev. William Barber, the head of the North Carolina NAACP, filed a lawsuit against the airline, alleging that he was kicked off a flight for responding to discriminatory comments directed at him from "two unruly white passengers". The NAACP says these examples and a couple of others suggest racial bias and can not be dismissed as normal or random.

One involved the head of the North Carolina NAACP, the Rev. William Barber, who sued American after being removed from a flight past year.

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The advisory potentially has major implications for places like Miami International Airport, where American Airlines has a dominant presence because it operates a hub there. The flight bound for NY faced a five-hour delay due to weather and passengers were asked to return to the terminal's waiting area after boarding.

The CEO of American Airlines reacted to the news Wednesday, sending a letter to all 120,000 employees of his airline.

The "growing list" of such incidents "reflects an unacceptable corporate culture and involves behavior that can not be dismissed as normal or random", said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP.

The NAACP listed some of the incidents accusing American Airlines of racial discrimination. We expect an audience with the leadership of American Airlines to air these grievances and to spur corrective action. But until that happens, the travel advisory will remain in place.

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American Airlines called the advisory "disappointing". It was the first travel advisory they had issued for a state.

NAACP slaps American Airlines with travel advisory, warns Black travelers