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The NAACP Warns African-Americans Against Traveling With American Airlines

The NAACP Warns African-Americans Against Traveling With American Airlines

In more disturbing news about airlines’ treatment of passengers, the NAACP has issued a travel advisory for African-Americans flying with American Airlines.

The NAACP named four separate incidents of American Airline’s mistreatment when it issued the warning, noting “a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines.”

According to the NAACP, the incidents indicate “a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias” and feel that African-Americans should know that booking a flight with American Airlines could lead to lead to the potential for experiencing “disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.”

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker was reportedly “disappointed” to hear about the advisory in a memo sent to airline staff and released to the press and has reached out to NAACP leadership for a meeting.

The memo describes American Airlines as inclusive and intolerant of discrimination.

The NAACP examples of numerous incidents don’t release names of passengers or when the incidents took place but have similar themes of African-Americans receiving different treatment than their white passengers including being removed from flights, flying coach after purchasing a first-class ticket, and being forced to give up seats.

American Airlines didn’t comment on the specific incidents. The NAACP said that the list of incidents has grown too much to be considered random. Earlier this year, the NAACP had issued a travel advisory for Missouri, saying that travelers in the state should exercise “extreme caution” after several discriminatory incidents had occurred.

At the time the Missouri advisory was issued, the organization reported it to be the first of its kind at the state or national level.

View Comments (18)


  1. texmanufan

    October 25, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Well I don’t know what the specific incidents were. I can say that customer service is terrible in general with AA. Many of the US based Airlines would be out of business if they competed in any other Industry with the customer service and practices they use.

  2. swm61230

    October 25, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    And how did the people act before action was taken against them.

    In all my flying I haven’t see or noticed anyone treated differently based on ethnicity or sex. I see them treated differently for being an ass in the first place.

  3. John Aldeborgh

    October 26, 2017 at 3:40 am

    I’m sorry but we need more data, this feels like click bait. Four instances over what period of time and how many tens of thousands of passengers fly on AA every week. With out some detail this is statistically insignificant. Anyone who flies frequently knows that many things happen on every airline. They don’t call coach flying cattle class for nothing.

  4. jjonathan

    October 26, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Not surprised this is and continues to be a loser airline

  5. AUS Flyer

    October 26, 2017 at 4:47 am

    Victim-hood is becoming so fashionable these days. Maybe this will make flying more stress-free…

  6. thepixinator

    October 26, 2017 at 5:19 am

    I wonder about the efficacy of an advisory against a as large as AA when the incidents that triggered it stem from a few individual emploees’ attitudes and not company policy. AA has 100,000 employees according to their website, so four incidents seems minuscule in relation to that number and the number of passengers AA processes daily. Obviously those incidents are horrible for anyone who experiences them, but a travel advisory? It seems like we’ve descended into some kind of a melodrama-gone-viral madness.

    On the other hand, I think good service is near dead in America, and that’s in large part to corporate greed. If you pay crap wages you get crap employees. If you pay decent wages you get decent employees. If you pay good wages … etc. Likewise for overworking employees. If you expect an underpaid employee to do the work of two or three people, expect to get one third of the job done. And when the employee is doing this job under stress while dealing with the public you can expect to see their worst side eventually make an appearance.

    And yes, I’m white so I don’t know what it’s like to deal with Traveling While Black. My lawyer friend tells stories of defending her clients from DWBs (driving while black), so I see the reality that it’s worse than I’ll ever know.
    The best thing about this advisory is that it will hopefully force AA to improve employee training, which is another thing that suffers under corporate greed and behaving like you report only to shareholder and not customers.

  7. sgp1066

    October 26, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Regarding the “buy first class…forced to fly in coach”. As many of us know the ‘first class’ ticket you buy on most airlines web site is actually an upgraded coach ticket. Unless the Fare Class says “F” (Delta) you are not guaranteed a first class seat. True First Class tickets don’t cost $300. They usually require you to purchase a refundable ticket and often cost thousands. These upgraded coach tickets work ok until there is an issue with plane changes, missed connections and other circumstances that get your butt bumped back to coach. Sometimes you are reimbursed other time not. It is very important to look at the fare class code when purchasing these discounted first class tickets.

  8. SfoDtwFlr

    October 26, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Unfortunately, lately this has been my experience more often than I would like as an African-American Executive Platinum member. I have never had similar experiences on Delta where I am a Platinum.

  9. jrpallante

    October 26, 2017 at 7:52 am

    If anybody actually believe this crapola from the irrelevant NAACP, then I don’t want them on the same plane as myself.

  10. Morgacj2004

    October 26, 2017 at 9:34 am

    So tired of the NAACP and it’s lawyer chasing, sue happy philosophy. We are not getting the back story as to what precipated these actions by AA. I have flown hundreds of times and have never seen or experienced discrimination. I am a Hispanic male. Some people want to continue to represent themselves as perpetual victims and as such will be treated that way. Equating poor customer service/ decision making with discrimination is a mistake

  11. makfan

    October 26, 2017 at 10:33 am

    sgp1066 is correct. I have been bumped back to economy from business after a delay and I think I got about $35 refund, but I knew I wasn’t buying a J ticket, it was an I ticket. The main thing is I got home the same day instead of overnighting somewhere.

  12. gabbai

    October 26, 2017 at 11:15 am

    This is great news! Hopefully the NAACP will take similar action against other airlines. Then the majority of decent flyers will be bale to enjoy and relax on their journeys without being surrounded by members of the world owes me class.

  13. Firldeal

    October 26, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I have flown AA frequently in the past and have noticed a continual decline in service across the board. I haven’t been bumped, but encountered terrible service periodically over the past year prompting me to book with their competitors when given a choice. It is hoped their service will improve.

  14. SportBike

    October 27, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I think this is a prime example of poor leadership at NAACP. Race card or not, I am sad that the NAACP is not focusing on their mission, but rather enjoying a power game or revenge by utilizing social media to punish a company. If they cared about black people being treated better, they would have contacted AA, asked for a meeting, and held a joint investigation into these events. Then, perhaps, the group together could come out heralding how the two worked together to make AA even better, while both could simultaneously look like champions and everyone wins. Even if AA declined the meeting or there they were unable to reach an agreement, the press release would have then come out significantly stronger, and with far more justification! But this event has little to do with making air travel better for black people, or helping AA to become a better airline.

    I am reluctant to identify the real battle on this power game, but you can call it pretty much anything you want. The NAACP embraces social media with a press release to do grave damage to AA. That’s an arguably pretty good ROI if your goal is to hurt AA. It was minimal work on the part of the NAACP. I personally doubt they conducted any reasonable or neutral investigation. It is simply a set back for everyone, perhaps even more so for black people.

  15. dginil

    October 27, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    While I am not African-American, I can understand after 40 years of flying as an adult how the atrociously disrespectful attitude that has always pervaded AA could appear to be racially motivated to those who are. That I have managed to accumulate reward worthy mileage on AA while trying mightily to avoid them like the plague says something; that I have no intention of using those miles for flight rewards says more. If they are in fact showing even less respect on a racial basis, that would be truly appalling service.

  16. arcticflier

    October 30, 2017 at 6:39 am

    A refusal to privide details except for anonymous accusations? Is this what we have come to now as a society? We don’t even allow the accused a chance to respond with their side of the story…assuming these incidents even took place.
    At what point does a society actually say, “Enough with the victimhood”? And is there any chance we are approaching that time?

    Its really getting tiring to see all of these different groups exploit their race, gender, gender-identity, sexual orientation as a means to profit.


  17. N1120A

    October 30, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Look at this typical apologism for racism. I’m guessing .it a single post regarding people being “lawyer chasing,” “sue happy” or “playing the race card” was made by a person of color. Obviously, the NAACP has seen enough reports to issue a warning.

  18. arcticflier

    November 1, 2017 at 2:16 pm


    Well you are right about one thing…”you can “guess” because the NAACP has failed to provide any details that would allow any result more than a “guess”.

    Our society is based on the accuser being required to provide details so that the accused has the opportunity to refute, defend or offer explanation for their actions.

    The NAACP has failed to offer any of these “fair play” conditions and yet, you believe these anonymous claims because of race?


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