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NAACP: Flying American May Be 'Unsafe' for Black People

Group issues national advisory for travelers
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2017 10:15 AM CDT
NAACP: Flying American Air May Be 'Unsafe' for Black People
A passenger and American Airlines jet are seen at Washington's Reagan National Airport in 2016.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

In a highly unusual move, the NAACP has issued a national advisory warning travelers, particularly African-Americans, that they may face "disrespectful, discriminatory, or unsafe conditions" on American Airlines flights. In what it labels examples of "possible racial bias," the advisory issued Tuesday describes a black man forced to give up his seats after responding to discriminatory comments from white passengers; a black woman moved from first class to coach, though her white companion was not; a black woman removed from a flight after complaining about a seat change; and a black woman removed from a flight after asking that a stroller for her infant be retrieved from checked baggage before she left the aircraft.

These incidents "suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines," the notice states. They "cannot be dismissed as normal or random," adds NAACP President Derrick Johnson, who says the advisory will remain in effect until the group's concerns are addressed, per NBC News. Johnson also calls for a meeting with airline executives and, in a staff memo, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker says "we have reached out to the NAACP and are eager to meet with them to listen to their issues and concerns." But Parker is far from admitting any wrongdoing, per CNN. "We do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind," the CEO says, adding he's "disappointed" by the NAACP's move. (More NAACP stories.)

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