NAACP Issues Travel Advisory for Blacks Flying American Airlines

Don’t fly the bigoted skies.

The NAACP has issued a travel advisory for blacks, warning them that they aren’t necessarily safe if they book a flight on American Airlines and could face discrimination.

“The NAACP for several months now has been monitoring a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines,” the civil rights organization stated. “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 [to] disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.”

NAACP President Derrick Johnson said the travel advisory will stay in place until these issues are addressed. He wants to meet with American Airlines and go over the organization's concerns.

In its defense, the airline reminded the NAACP that its employees are diverse and would never be allowed to treat anyone different because the color of their skin:

“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.”

But not that AA isn’t capitulating: “With that said, we understand there is more to do... We are committed to having a meaningful dialogue about our airline and are ready to both listen and engage.”

The advisory was issued after a black activist, Tamika Mallory, alleged that “white male aggression” caused her to be singled out, disrespected, intimidated, and ultimately removed from a flight by the pilot over an argument with a gate agent over her assigned seat. Mallory was a major organizer of the Women’s March on Washington.

The NAACP cited two other incidents: one including a former NAACP president who was booted off an AA flight even though he claimed he was the victim of harassment by two white passengers. The other involved a black woman who bought a first-class ticket but was sent to coach when an aircraft change limited the amount of passengers up front. However, her white traveling partner was able to keep his first-class reservation.

Johnson said these incidents “cannot be dismissed as normal or random” and added, “All travelers must be guaranteed the right to travel without fear of threat, violence or harm.”

In August, the NAACP issued a travel advisory for blacks traveling through the state of Missouri over a “series of questionable, race-based incidents occurring statewide.” Johnson, who was interim president at the time, stated, “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.” 


Photo credit: Thomas Hawk via / CC BY-NC