The NAACP recently issued a travel advisory against American Airlines for what they feel are discrimination issues against travelers who are African-Americans. The advisory says that safety could be compromised by employees’ “troublesome conduct.” The Missouri chapter of the NAACP issued a similar notice in June against the State of Missouri for a number of discrimination problems.
In the recent statement about American Airlines, the 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.” Johnson then called for a meeting between their organization and leadership at the airlines.
Four situations were mentioned in the news release from the NAACP involving unacceptable treatment of passengers. One that was mentioned involved a dispute between “two unruly while passengers” and a black man with tickets from Washington to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. When the black man “responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments,” he was made to give up his purchased tickets. Another problem happened when a black woman with her infant were removed from a flight between Atlanta to New York after the woman asked for her baby stroller be gotten out of the checked baggage before she deplaned.
American Airlines has committed to meeting with the NAACP, inviting them to come to the Fort Worth, Texas headquarters of the airline. Doug Parker, CEO at American Airlines, issued a memo to employees saying he was “disappointed.” He also pointed out that the company and NAACP share the same mission. He continued by saying, “We do not and we will not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We have reached out to the NAACP and are eager to meet with them to listen to their issues and concerns.”
Johnson at the NAACP believes the national travel advisory concerning American Airlines will not be rescinded until the problems and concerns are addressed. It has not been a great year or so for the airline industry. American Airlines has faced a couple of problems like this one already, United Airlines caught the brunt of the population’s displeasure in the Spring when a doctor was forcibly … and we do mean forcibly … removed from a flight to make room for employees of the airline returning from some vacation time. The doctor in the meantime sustained extensive bruises and a concussion.
Then there were storm problems grounding all planes from another airline, the list seems unending. What can be said is that if a company provides great service and good prices, customers will put up with a bit more, but in a social media driven world, no company can stand on those items alone. Keeping communications open helps a lot. Not having employees do things that people perceive as stupid would help a lot too.