WASHINGTON — The NAACP is lifting its travel advisory against American Airlines, saying the company is making improvements that address worries about African-Americans being subject to discrimination or even unsafe conditions while flying.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson made the announcement at the NAACP’s national convention in San Antonio, Texas. The NAACP issued the advisory in October, after several incidents including an NAACP official and another civil rights activist being kicked off American flights.
Johnson said the NAACP is encouraged by American Airlines’ “commitment to improve upon their internal processes and increase inclusion across their airline.”
“We’re pleased with the outcome we’ve seen,” Johnson said.
American Airlines CEO and Chairman Doug Parker said the company used the attention brought by the NAACP to continue to improve its customer interactions. “We can always be better,” Parker said.
American hired an outside firm to review its diversity in hiring and promotion, and promised to train its 130,000 employees to recognize subtle or implicit bias. Online training began this month, and classroom training is scheduled to take place this fall.
American, the world’s biggest airline, says it also created a special team to handle customer complaints alleging discrimination. It says customers who file a discrimination claim will be called to discuss the incident.
The travel advisory came after several well-publicized incidents with American Airlines.
One involved the head of the North Carolina NAACP, the Rev. William Barber, who sued American after being removed from a flight last year from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Barber said police were called and removed him from the plane after he asked a flight attendant to tell a white passenger behind him to quiet down.
Barber accused the other passenger of making a comment about having a problem with “those people.”