NAACP Issues a Travel Advisory For American Airlines, Citing (of Course) Racism

Bryan Michalek | October 25, 2017

The NAACP has issued a national travel advisory for American Airlines warning black travelers not to fly with the company, citing a "pattern of disturbing incidents" that, incidentally, don't seem to have anything to do with race.

The organization publish a press release on their website seeking to "alert travelers -- especially African Americans" of the airline's alleged "disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions."

The statement brings up four different incidents involving African American passengers who experienced "troublesome conduct" which according to the NAACP "suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines."

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But of course, cherry-picking only cases involving black passengers suggests construction of a story rather than looking the whole truth.

American Airlines has had a bad record with customer service, and it isn't necessarily tied to racism. According to Consumer Affairs, American Airlines has a dramatically poor 1-star rating based on 276 reviews submitted over the last year. The airline's ratings are also poor on Yelp, sitting at a 1.5-star overall rating based on 1516 reviews. On Tripadvisor, the airline's got an average 3-star rating from 24,346 reviews.

It's a safe assumption that the majority of these reviews come from poor customer service that affects all passengers regardless of race, religion, or creed.

American Airlines has also been at the center of several highly-publicized incidents, including allegedly continuing to seat a woman next to a passenger who was caught masturbating and another in which an AA flight attendant allegedly hit a mother with a stroller. Passengers on an AA flight were once grounded after a scorpion was found on board. None of the aforementioned cases had anything to do with race.

Despite the lengthy list of customer complaints, the NAACP managed to find four instances that involved black passengers, without establishing that their skin color played a part in the incident at all, and built a racially-charged narrative.

“All travelers must be guaranteed the right to travel without fear of threat, violence or harm,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said. “The growing list of incidents suggesting racial bias reflects an unacceptable corporate culture and involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random.”

The NAACP will keep the advisory in effect until they get “the leadership of American Airlines to air these grievances and to spur corrective action.”

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(Cover photo: Joao Carlos Medau)