The NAACP released a travel advisory this week notifying black people that American Airlines is "racist" and that they should no longer fly it.
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. This travel advisory is in effect beginning today, October 24, 2017, until further notice.
The series of recent incidents involve troublesome conduct by American Airlines and they suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines. Among these incidents:
- 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;
- Despite having previously booked first-class tickets for herself and a traveling companion, an African-American woman’s seating assignment was switched to the coach section at the ticket counter, while her white companion remained assigned to a first-class seat;
- On a flight bound for New York from Miami, the pilot directed that an African-American woman be removed from the flight when she complained to the gate agent about having her seating assignment changed without her consent; and
- An African-American woman and her infant child were removed from a flight from Atlanta to New York City when the woman (incidentally a Harvard Law School student) asked that her stroller be retrieved from checked baggage before she would disembark.
The "evidence" the NAACP has presented as to why this airline should be blacklisted is questionable at best. For the first point, notice that there are almost no details given, making it nearly impossible to figure out who is actually in the right.
The wording of point number two is quite odd. The NAACP said that the black woman "previously booked first class," indicating that it happened in the past. The NAACP does not provide context nor does it give American Airlines' explanation as to why the black woman's seat was moved.
In the third point, the NAACP does not bother to explain WHY the black woman's seat number was changed. It's unlikely that an airline would change someone's seat for no reason, as that would be a pointless thing to do. Perhaps the woman was creating some kind of disturbance that preempted the seat change, but once again, no details are given so it's impossible to say.
As for the final point, it makes very little sense! A person would not be removed for simply asking for a stroller to be retrieved from checked baggage. Airline staffers can't be treated like personal servants, and they are under no obligations to give special treatment to one passenger over the next.
In the end, the NAACP is asking the public to take its side of the story without even giving American Airlines' version of events. Perhaps the NAACP is right about all of this, but it's also absolutely possible that American Airlines has a reasonable explanation for each one of these "offenses." With so little information given, it's impossible to say, and the NAACP is asking to be believed just because they are representing black people.
What do you think about this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.