American Airlines, lawsuit, racial discrimnation

American Airlines CEO Condemns Employees Who Removed Black Passengers From Flight

CEO Robert Isom said the behavior is not in line with the airline's values.

The CEO of American Airlines has condemned the employees responsible for removing several Black passengers from its plane over alleged complaints about their body odor. In a note to staff obtained June 20 by the Associated Press, Robert Isom called the incident unacceptable by their guidelines.

American Airlines has put an undisclosed number of employees on administrative leave for their involvement in the removal incident.

“I am incredibly disappointed by what happened on that flight and the breakdown of our procedures,” Isom wrote. “It contradicts our values. We fell short of our commitments and failed our customers in this incident.”

The incident that Isom referenced in his note occurred in January and resulted in three Black male passengers suing the airline last month. The passengers claim they were removed from the flight due to clear racial discrimination. The lawsuit stated that a white male flight attendant began complaining about an “unidentified passenger’s body odor.”

The men who were removed from the flight were not seated together and did not know each other before the incident. As they were waiting for their flight to New York to depart, eight total black passengers were told to get off the plane.

When the removed passengers confronted the American Airlines employees about their removal, they were told that they were ejected due to the complaint about body odor. However, an employee at the jet bridge was seen on camera during a recorded video of the incident seeming to agree that the men were discriminated against because of their race.

According to their lawsuit, the men were allowed back onto the plane after an hour’s delay.

The number of suspended employees has not been disclosed.

Isom announced American Airlines is putting together an “advisory group” to focus on improving the flight experience for customers of color. The group would handle reports of discrimination allegations and also focus on improving diversity training for employees to better “focus on real-world situations to help recognize and address bias and discrimination.”

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