American Airlines and NAACP meet to discuss allegations of racism

NAACP President Derrick Johnson attended a meeting with American Airlines chief Doug Parker to discuss allegations of bias by the carrier.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Leaders of the NAACP and American Airlines have met to discuss the civil rights group’s travel warning alleging discriminatory practices by the airline, but no resolution appears imminent.

The NAACP issued a travel advisory late last month, warning African Americans that flying on American Airlines could subject them to “disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.”

The NAACP cited four incidents in which African American passengers were either removed from a flight or forced to give up a first-class seat on the carrier’s planes.


According to the annual air travel consumer report compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation, American Airlines had 18 complaints last year that alleged discrimination based on race, more than any other carrier.

On Tuesday, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, NAACP General Counsel Brad Berry and several activists met in Washington with American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker and the carrier’s vice president for customer experience, Kerry Philipovitch.

“We welcomed the opportunity to meet, and had a positive and productive dialogue,” airline spokeswoman Shannon Gilson said of the meeting. “We look forward to continuing the conversation and working together.”

The NAACP issued a statement, saying the two sides had “a full and frank dialogue, but words are no substitute for action.”

Both sides said they will continue to meet to discuss the allegations.

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