The advisory, issued Tuesday, warns that black travelers should “exercise caution, in that booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them [to] disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.”
The NAACP reports that the advisory was implemented following months of monitoring “a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines.” The civil rights organization added that the stories “suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines.”
The warning cited four specific incidents. In the first, an African-American man said he was forced to give up his seat on a flight after responding to “disrespectful and discriminatory” comments made to him by two white passengers. In another incident, an African-American woman reported that her seat assignment was changed to coach despite booking a first-class ticket. Another African-American woman said she was removed from a flight after complaining that her seat assignment had been changed. Finally, the advisory cited a situation in which an African-American woman said she and her infant were removed from a flight after she asked that her child’s stroller be retrieved from checked baggage before disembarking.
An NAACP spokesperson was not immediately available to answer questions about the advisory. American Airlines said in a statement that it was “disappointed” about the NAACP advisory.
“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,” spokeswoman Shannon Gilson told CNN.
This isn’t the first time the NAACP has issued a travel advisory. Two months ago, the NAACP issued another warning for Missouri, telling travelers to visit the state with “extreme caution.”