NAACP Lifts Advisory Against Travel On American Airlines After Carrier Launches Bias Training

Grant Martin
Written by Grant Martin
travel advisory
Derrick Johnson CEO of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Leadership Summit in Washington, DC., May 8, 2018. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Over nine months after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a travel advisory encouraging African Americans to avoid flying on American Airlines, the agency has finally lifted its advisory.

According to the Associated Press, the announcement was made by Derrick Johnson, NAACP president, at the group’s national convention in San Antonio, Texas, earlier this week.

American got into hot water with the agency late last year after a series of incidents in which the NAACP saw racial bias by the airline against African American travelers. As a result of the events, the association officially discouraged African Americans from traveling on the carrier until corrective measures were taken.

Immediately after the advisory was issued, American jumped into action. Late in October, Doug Parker, American’s CEO conceded that the airline could learn from the incidents, suggesting that “If the NAACP wants to talk to us and wants to help us get better, we are excited about that.” In November, the NAACP, American and a handful of other groups met to discuss corrective actions and issued a release, sharing four specific vectors that the company was taking to lead on diversity, inclusion and equality.

Despite those efforts, the NAACP still wouldn’t lift its advisory. In early December, the group lauded American for making updates to its training regiment but stood its ground, choosing to make sure that the airline followed through on its promises.

Online training at American Airlines apparently started this month and as of this week, the NAACP appears to finally be satisfied with American’s progress. Speaking this week at the association’s national convention, Derrick Johnson said that “we’re pleased with the outcome we’ve seen,” lauding the airline’s “commitment to improve upon their internal processes and increase inclusion across their airline.”

In the NAACP’s release, Doug Parker echoed Johnson’s sentiment. “Today’s news belongs to American’s 130,000 team members who have enthusiastically embraced our goal to lead all industry in diversity, inclusion and equality,” he said. “ This is work that will never be complete, but we are making great progress.”


About Grant Martin

I monitor the heartbeat of adventure, budget and consumer travel. Primary vocations: engineering and media. In 2007 I joined AOL's Gadling as an airline writer. Currently, I contribute to a variety of publications including Forbes and The Economist and I'm a business editor at large at Skift and The BBC.