DALLAS - Operations are busy across American Airlines terminals. However, behind the scenes administrators are busy dealing with criticism from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights group, issued a travel advisory against American Airlines this week, warning African Americans about concerns for their safety and well being when using American Airlines.
Dallas-based health care executive Jerome Madison says he is not surprised by the NAACP’s travel advisory.
”I was sick,” Madison said as he detailed an incident that led him to file a lawsuit against the airline and a flight attendant. "I was nauseous. I had a headache. I felt enraged and angered."
The complaint is centered around a disturbing experience he claims happened during a first-class trip in January 2016.
“I said, 'Hey, I didn’t get a drink order,'" Madison said. "And her response to me was extremely sharp and just visceral. She said, “Did you want a drink?” I was just shocked.”
Madison believes he was treated poorly because of his race. He claims the flight attendant put a little something extra in his drink.
”As I stirred it, I stabbed something,” Madison said. “And you kind of know there’s something in there. Once I pulled it up, it was a big, huge, loogie.”
The NAACP says it has been tracking examples of troublesome conduct by American Airlines and its employees. Most of those cases involve African Americans.
Hilary Shelton is vice president for Advocacy and Policy with the NAACP.
“We don’t get these complaints about every airline but we have got significant complaints about American Airlines," Shelton said.
Ross Feinstein, a spokesman with American Airlines, said the company will not comment on pending litigation. He says the airline transports over 200 million people per year. Feinstein said American Airlines has a diverse workforce, and nearly 40 percent of its employees are minority.
The company’s chairman and CEO, Doug Parker, responded to NAACP’s travel advisory this week.
"We do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind," read part of his response. "We have reached out the NAACP and are eager to meet with them.”
Madison calls the experience he had with the American Airlines a violation of humanity.
”As a black man, and going through life experiences, we get accustomed to micro-aggressions from other people,” Madison said.
He said he's glad American Airlines is planning to meet with the NAACP to discuss the organization’s issues and concerns.
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