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First Class Passenger Claims American Airlines Flight Attendant Ordered Her to Use Economy Bathroom Because He Didn’t Like the Way She Shut the Door

First Class Passenger Claims American Airlines Flight Attendant Ordered Her to Use Economy Bathroom Because He Didn’t Like the Way She Shut the Door

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An American Airlines passenger traveling in First Class on a flight from Chicago O’Hare to Phoenix earlier this year claims a flight attendant ordered her to use the Economy Class bathroom because he didn’t like the way she closed the lavatory door and then manhandled her when she ignored his directive.

Pamela Hill-Veal, a black retired circuit court judge from Illinois, has accused American Airlines of racial discrimination in a written complaint about the way the flight attendant treated her on the February 10 flight to Arizona.

The incident started after Pamela used the dedicated First Class bathroom at the front of the airplane during the 3-hour flight. The flight attendant followed her to her seat and accused her of slamming the lavatory door shut, and ordered her not to do it again.

Pamela says she didn’t react to the flight attendant, but a little later on, she again got up to use the First Class bathroom. Yet again, the flight attendant confronted Pamela and started to berate her for allegedly slamming the lavatory door.

“I told you not to slam the door … so from now on, you are to use the restroom in the back of the plane,” the flight attendant told Pamela, according to her account which she shared with NPR.

Pamela believes that the flight attendant’s behavior towards her was motivated by race as white passengers sitting in First Class were not told off or confronted for using the bathroom or ordered to use the lavatories at the back of the plane.

With just 30 minutes left of the flight, Pamela again needed to use the bathroom, but rather than heeding the flight attendant’s demands, she used the bathroom in the cabin she was sitting in.

After doing so, however, Pamela says the flight attendant followed her back to her seat and started to touch her while threatening to have her arrested upon landing because he falsely accused her of hitting him.

Since the incident, Pamela says she is having trouble sleeping due to the trauma and is nervous about flying again. American Airlines says it has reached out to Pamela to find out more about her experience, saying it takes all claims of discrimination very seriously.

American Airlines has had more than its fair share of complaints concerning racial discrimination, and in 2017, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued an advisory warning African Americans not to fly with AA because of a “corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias” against African-American at the airline.

The advisory warned of a “pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines” and claimed African Americans could face “disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions” when travelling with the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline.

The civil rights group lifted the advisory in July 2018, saying AA had made “substantial” progress in addressing the concerns it had raised. American Airlines has introduced a number of improvements, including implicit bias training.

Last December, a ‘prominent’ businessman who works in the entertainment industry in Las Vegas accused American Airlines of racial discrimination and civil rights abuses following a flight to Washington DC.

Kenneth Crear sued American Airlines for at least $1.25 million in compensation and punitive damages for the way he was selectively treated by a flight attendant compared to a white passenger who was sitting across the aisle from him.

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