CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NAACP issued a warning for African Americans who fly American Airlines Tuesday.
The group says they are noticing a pattern of disturbing incidents involving the removal of black passengers from flights, in addition to other troublesome conducts that are giving rise to this warning.
One of the four listed incidents in the NAACP's statement involved an African-American woman and her infant child being removed from an Atlanta to New York flight when the woman, who is a Harvard Law student, asked that her stroller be retrieved from checked baggage before she would disembark.
Another involved an African-American passenger being required to give up his purchased seats aboard a flight from Washington, D.C. to Raleigh due to the fact he responded to "disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers."
Still another incident involved an African-American woman being switched to coach section at the ticket counter despite having previously booked first-class tickets for herself and a traveling companion. The woman's traveling companion, who was white, remained assigned to a first-class seat, according to NAACP's claims.
The NAACP issued the following statement Tuesday:
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.
"We all pay for our flights and expect to be treated as a customer," said one passenger. "And if the color of your skin is preventing you from being treated like a customer, I think that's unfair."
Another passenger said airlines should focus on training their employees.
"Once you train your staff consecutively, they tend to avoid issues like this," he said.
American Airlines sent the following statement in response to NAACP's allegations:
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.
American Airlines says it will invite representatives from the NAACP to meet with them at their headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.
The NAACP says the advisory is in effect until further notice.