American Airlines CEO says kicking so many black passengers off flight is unacceptable

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines An undisclosed number of employees were placed on leave for their involvement in an incident in which several black passengers were ejected from a Phoenix flight following complaints of body odor.

American CEO Robert Isom He wrote in a memo to staff that the incident was unacceptable.

“I am incredibly disappointed by what happened on that flight and the breakdown of our procedures,” Isom said in a memo this week. “This is inconsistent with our values. … We have failed our obligations and failed our customers in this incident.”

Three black passengers The airline was sued Last month, he alleged that they were removed from the January flight due to racial discrimination. They said they were told a white male flight attendant had complained about body odor from an unidentified passenger.

The men said they did not know each other and were sitting separately while waiting for their flight to New York. The three said they were among eight passengers on the plane – all black men – who were told to leave the plane.

The men said they had demanded an explanation for their removal during a confrontation with flight attendants on the jet bridge. At least one person recorded the discussion, grabbing a flight attendant and appearing to admit the men were discriminated against, according to their lawsuit.

They were allowed back on the flight after a delay of about an hour.

American did not say how many employees were placed on leave or describe their job titles. An airline spokesperson said: “We are holding those involved accountable, including removing the crew members from service.”

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Isom said American will create an advisory committee to focus on the experience of black customers, encourage reporting of allegations of discrimination, and improve diversity training to “focus on real-world situations to identify and address bias and discrimination.”

In his memo, previously reported by CBS News, Isom said he spoke with the president of the NAACP about the incident. The civil rights group did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The American has faced accusations of discrimination in the past. In 2017, the NAACP Black warned passengers Regarding flying on the airline, many African American passengers reported experiencing discrimination from airline staff. American promised to make changes, and the NAACP Raised the advice Almost nine months later.

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