After NAACP issued a national travel advisory telling African-Americans to avoid patronizing American Airlines amid cries of racial discrimination, the airline met with NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson to discuss how to address the issues outlined in the advisory.
“We had an introductory meeting with the leadership of American Airlines to discuss the issues outlined in our travel advisory and the need for meaningful corrective action by the airline to prevent future incidents of this nature,” Johnson said of last week’s meeting.
But Johnson said the travel advisory will remain in effect until further notice.
“We had a full and frank dialogue, but words are no substitute for action,” he said. “The NAACP looks forward to continuing its work with American Airlines to ensure that African-American customers are not subjected to racially discriminatory treatment.”
The advisory was issued shortly after activist Tamika Mallory, nationally known for organizing the Women’s March on Washington, accused the airline of discrimination over a seating dispute which resulted in her being removed from the plane as an order of the pilot.
The NAACP also cited several other incidents that resulted in the travel advisory, including an African-American man who had to relinquish his purchased seats while aboard a flight from Washington to Raleigh-Durham, N.C., because he responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers, according to the civil rights group.
“The NAACP for several months now has been monitoring a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines,” Johnson said. “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.”
In response, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said the company was “disappointed” by the advisory.
“The mission statement of the NAACP states that it ‘seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination,'” Parker said. “That’s a mission that the people of American Airlines endorse and facilitate every day — we do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”