American Airlines rocked by racial discrimination lawsuit after black passengers forced off plane

Black passengers who were briefly ordered off an American Airlines plane in January sued the airline on Wednesday, alleging they were victims of racial discrimination.

Three of the men filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York. They said they were told to leave a plane waiting to take off in Phoenix and noticed five other black men who had also been ordered to leave the flight.

The three, who did not know each other and had been sitting in different parts of the plane, said an airline employee told them they were removed because a flight attendant had complained about a passenger’s body odor. The men said they responded that it seemed the target of their deportation was solely because of their race.

American offered to rebook them, but when it became clear after about an hour that no other flights to New York were available that night, they were allowed to reboard the plane, according to the lawsuit filed by Public Citizen, an advocacy group. of the consumer. founded by Ralph Nader.

“If American Airlines received a complaint about a black passenger with unpleasant body odor but was unable to verify the complaint, the solution should not have been to kick eight separate black men off the plane,” said Susan Huhta, an employment law attorney in Washington. said DC, who represents the three men.

American said it was investigating the claims.

“We take all reports of discrimination very seriously and want our customers to have a positive experience when they choose to fly with us,” the airline said in a statement. “Our teams are currently investigating the matter as the claims do not reflect our core values ​​or our purpose of caring for people.”

In 2017, the NAACP warned black travelers not to fly with American, alleging that several African-American passengers had experienced discrimination by the airline. American promised changes and the civil rights group later lifted the warning.

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