NAACP Issues Travel Advisory for American Airlines - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

NAACP Issues Travel Advisory for American Airlines

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    NAACP Issues Travel Advisory for American Airlines

    The NAACP has issued a travel advisory for people traveling on American Airlines a week after a black activist was removed from a flight following a dispute with a gate agent. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017)

    The NAACP has issued a travel advisory for people traveling on American Airlines a week after a black activist was removed from a flight following a dispute with a gate agent.

    The organization says it has been monitoring what it calls a "pattern of disturbing incidents" reported by black passengers.

    The advisory urges "travelers — especially African Americans — to exercise caution, in that booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions."

    In an interview with The Associated Press, new NAACP President Derrick Johnson said they are not boycotting American Airlines, but the sheer numbers of events made them feel like they had to issue a warning.

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    "We're not telling people not to fly on American," he said. "We're just saying to individuals that here is an advisory note. We have picked up a pattern of a certain behavior of this corporation and until further notice be on alert."

    In response, the Fort Worth-based airline says it was disappointed to hear about the advisory and it plans to invite NAACP representatives to meet for a discussion at its headquarters.

    The airline said, in part, "[O]ur 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."

    Last week, Tamika Mallory, an activist who helped organize the Women's March on Washington earlier this year, said that a pilot had her removed from a Miami to New York flight after she had a dispute with another airline employee over her seat assignment.

    "Only reason this pilot got involved was to assert his white male power over who he thought was just some uppity black girl," Mallory tweeted.

    American said it apologized for mishandling Mallory's attempt to move from a middle seat to an aisle seat, but it denied the heart of her accusation.

    "The American team does not tolerate discrimination of any kind," said spokesman Ross Feinstein. "This was about de-escalating a situation onboard the aircraft."

    The crew decided that the best thing to do was rebook Mallory on the next flight to New York's LaGuardia Airport, and Mallory took that flight home, Feinstein said.

    Mallory said that she used an airport kiosk to upgrade her seat, but when she tried to board the plane, an employee tore up her boarding pass and gave her another — with her original middle seat. American said there was an error in the seating process, because the seat that Mallory requested was not available.

    The gate agent was unable to explain the error, and Mallory accused the agent, a black woman, of failing to treat her with respect.

    One of the pilots got involved at the end of the confrontation, Mallory said, asking her if she could behave herself once on board the plane.

    After going to her seat, Mallory was called to the front of the plane, where she was met by several employees and was told she was being removed.

    Some other passengers who photographed Mallory on the plane said that she cursed and was abusive to crew members. On Facebook Live, Mallory did not dispute that, but said she only lost her composure when it was clear that she was being kicked off.

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