After a series of troubling incidents, the NAACP has issued a Travel Advisory warning African Americans about their “safety and well being when patronizing American Airlines or traveling on American Airlines flights.”
The advisory issued yesterday, which is in effect until further notice, states:
“The NAACP for several months now has been monitoring a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines. In light of these confrontations, we have today taken the action of issuing national advisory alerting travelers—especially African Americans—to exercise caution, in that booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.”
Four specific incidents were highlighted in the warning and include an African American man whom the organization says was required to give up his purchased seats because he responded to discriminatory comments directed toward him by two white passengers and an African American woman and her infant who were removed from a flight after the woman asked if her stroller could be retrieved from checked baggage before she left the plane.
“All travelers must be guaranteed the right to travel without fear of threat, violence or harm,” Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, stated. “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 response to the Travel Advisory, American Airlines issued the following statement and said it plans to invite representatives from the NAACP to meet with company officials.
“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.”
This is the second Travel Advisory the NAACP has issued this year. In August, the organization warned African American travelers to use “extreme caution” visiting the state of Missouri saying, “Race, gender and color based crimes have a long history in Missouri.”