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American Airlines Stands Down Employees Who Had Group of Unrelated Black Men Ejected From Flight Over False Body Odor Complaint

American Airlines Stands Down Employees Who Had Group of Unrelated Black Men Ejected From Flight Over False Body Odor Complaint

airplanes parked on a runway

Amercian Airlines has stood down a group of employees who had eight unrelated Black men removed from a flight at Phoenix Sky Harbor over a false claim that they all had ‘offensive’ body odor.

The decision to stand down the employees comes just days after CEO Robert Isom criticized his own workers over the incident, saying that he was ‘incredibly disappointed’ by what had happened and that the incident was ‘unacceptable’.

What occurred on American Airlines Flight 832 on January 5 only came to light after three of the eight Black men filed a lawsuit against the carrier, accusing AA of ‘blatant and egregious race discrimination’ over the way they were singled out.

The men, who were unrelated and not traveling together, were removed from the flight to New York JFK because of a complaint of pungent body odor and initially told they would be rebooked onto another flight.

When it became apparent that there were no spare seats on any other flight to New York, a decision was made to allow them to board their original plane which had, by now, been delayed.

When the men reboarded the aircraft, they were met by stares from a mostly White crowd of passengers who viewed the Black men as the cause of the delay.

“It is important we address and unacceptable incident where eight Black passengers were temporarily removed and reboarded on one of our flights,” Isom said in a leaked memo earlier this week.

“I am incredibly disappointed by what happened on that flight and the breakdown of our procedures. It contradicts our values, what we stand for, who we are and our purpose of caring for people on life’s journey”.

A spokesperson for American Airlines confirmed that the carrier was “holding those involved accountable, including removing team members from service.”

In the wake of the lawsuit, the NAACP threatened to slap American Airlines with a new travel advisory that would have warned Black passengers from flying with the Fort Worth-based carrier.

Isom has already reached out to the director and CEO of the NAACP to address their concerns and is reconvening an advisory panel, as well as introducing new diversity training on the advice of the organization.

The embattled chief executive admitted that American Airlines “failed our customers” and “fell short of our commitments” before announcing that the carrier must do more to “listen, learn and grow”.

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