NAACP Warns Travelers of Concerns With American Airlines

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Citing concerns of “disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions,” the NAACP on Wednesday issued a travel advisory warning African Americans about their safety and well being when flying with American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL).

The organization cited a number of recent incidents involving “troublesome conduct” by American Airlines that the NAACP says suggests “a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias” on the part of the airline.

This is one of the four incidents the NAACP noted in its press release:

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.

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP said:

All travelers must be guaranteed the right to travel without fear of threat, violence or harm. The growing list of incidents suggesting racial bias reflects an unacceptable corporate culture and involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random.  We expect an audience with the leadership of American Airlines to air these grievances and to spur corrective action.  Until these and other concerns are addressed, this national travel advisory will stand.

In August the organization issued its first-ever travel advisory for a state directed at African-American travelers, visitors, and Missourians “to pay special attention and exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the state given the series of questionable, race-based incidents occurring statewide recently …”

At the time Johnson noted:

The numerous racist incidents, and the statistics cited by the Missouri Attorney General in the advisory, namely the fact that African Americans in Missouri are 75 percent more likely to be stopped and searched by law enforcement officers than Caucasians, are unconscionable, and are simply unacceptable in a progressive society.

The Missouri state NAACP issued a similar travel advisory in June advising travelers to exercise “extreme CAUTION: Race, gender and color based crimes have a long history in Missouri.”

American Airlines issued the following response to the NAACP advisory:

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.

We will invite representatives of the NAACP to meet with our team at our headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. We are committed to having a meaningful dialogue about our airline and are ready to both listen and engage.

See the NAACP press release.