NAACP warns black passengers about traveling with American Airli - KCTV5 News

NAACP warns black passengers about traveling with American Airlines

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(Betsy Webster/KCTV5) (Betsy Webster/KCTV5)

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/CNN) -- The NAACP is warning African-American travelers to be careful when they fly with American Airlines.

In an advisory late Tuesday, the organization said it has noticed "a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines."

The NAACP cited four examples of black passengers who it said were forced to give up their seats or were removed from flights.

It said the incidents "suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias" and advised travelers to exercise caution.

"Booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them [to] disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions," the advisory said.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said in a memo to staff that the company was "disappointed" to hear about the NAACP warning.

"We fly over borders, walls and stereotypes to connect people from different races, religions, nationalities, economic backgrounds and sexual orientations," Parker wrote in the memo, which the company released to reporters. "We do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind."

He said the airline has reached out to the NAACP to meet with them. NAACP President Derrick Johnson had called for a meeting with the airline's leadership.

The NAACP warning referenced four examples, including one involving a black woman who was removed from a New York-bound flight after she complained that her seat was changed without her consent.

Park University Assistant Professor of Marketing Toni-Rochelle Ford says it will likely amount to a boycott - and not just from persons of color but also sympathetic white customers.

“They can make their voices more well heard on social media," she said. "They can say to companies, make demands, say we expect you to be good corporate citizen and if you don’t then I will go to the next firm that selling something.”

Besides the advisory, the NAACP is using social media to expand on their examples, asking people to post with the hashtag #HappenedToMeOnAA.

They’re asking American to institute racial sensitivity training for staff and increase racial diversity of that staff at all levels.

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