American Airlines Sued for Removing Black Passengers from Flight

American Airlines Sued for Removing Black Passengers from Flight

May 30, 2024 : A lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, accusing American Airlines of racial discrimination. The suit alleges that eight Black male passengers were removed from a Phoenix to New York City flight in January 2024 based on a complaint about body odor from a single, unidentified passenger.

The plaintiffs, three of whom have come forward publicly, assert that none were ever personally accused of having offensive body odor. They further claim that upon deplaning, they observed several other Black male passengers being removed as well, leading them to believe the selection was racially motivated.

American Airlines representatives reportedly informed the passengers that a white flight attendant had filed the body odor complaint. The lawsuit contends that this explanation lacked merit, considering none of the plaintiffs were ever directly approached about the issue. Additionally, the complaint alleges that at least one American Airlines staff member acknowledged the possibility of racial bias when confronted by the passengers.

Following their removal, the plaintiffs were rebooked on the same flight after a delay of over an hour. However, the lawsuit emphasizes the emotional distress and humiliation they experienced due to the incident. They describe the ordeal as “traumatic, upsetting, scary, humiliating, and degrading.”

American Airlines has issued a statement acknowledging the lawsuit and expressing that they take all discrimination claims very seriously. The company stated that an investigation is underway. This incident reignites discussions about racial profiling within the airline industry. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a court order prohibiting American Airlines from engaging in similar discriminatory practices in the future.


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