NAACP Lifts Its Warning Against American Airlines

FORT WORTH (CN) – The NAACP said Tuesday it is lifting its 9-month-old travel advisory to black travelers against flying on American Airlines, citing the airline’s promises to train employees on bias after several incidents involving black passengers.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson said his group has worked with the Fort Worth-based airline for nearly a year and that American has taken “substantive action” to address implicit bias by employees.

In October 2017 the NAACP issued a travel advisory, warning black travelers they could be subjected to “disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions” aboard American flights. The action fell short of a call for a boycott.

The NAACP cited several high-profile incidents involving black passengers, including a black Women’s March organizer who was kicked off a flight by a white male pilot over a seat reassignment. It also cited a former North Carolina NAACP director suing American for being removed from a flight after asking a flight attendant to quiet down a white passenger.

“They have embraced the situation and we are encouraged by their commitment to improve upon their internal processes and increase inclusion across their airline,” Johnson said this week at the NAACP annual conference in San Antonio.

“Our work with American has included very candid, open and ongoing dialogue about the realities for African Americans who travel with American and other airlines, and we will continue to monitor progress and share feedback with them.”

American CEO Doug Parker credited the airline’s 130,000 employees for “enthusiastically” embracing its goal “to lead all industry” on diversity and inclusion. He expressed disappointment at the travel advisory when it was first announced.

“We thank the NAACP for recognizing our progress and look forward to working with them in the future as we continue on this mission,” Parker said in a statement.

The NAACP says American agreed last year to a diversity gap analysis, implicit bias training for all employees and a new discrimination complaint resolution process for employees and customers.

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