From the blog

American Airline Suspends Staff After Black Passengers Were Kicked Off Flight

American Airlines has placed an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incident in which Black passengers were removed from a flight in Phoenix, allegedly over a complaint about body odour.
⁠Three passengers filed a lawsuit against the carrier in May, alleging racial discrimination in the 5 January incident.

In a note to employees, CEO Robert Isom said that the incident was unacceptable and that the company “fell short” of its commitment to customers.

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

“We are holding those involved accountable, including removing team members from service,” the airline said in a statement.

The company has also announced a number of initiatives aimed at preventing such incidents from taking place, including an “advisory group” focused on the experience of black passengers.

In the May lawsuit, three men – who were not seated together and did not know each other – said that every black man was removed from the flight between Phoenix, Arizona and New York City.

A total of eight passengers were removed.

“American Airlines singled us out for being black, embarrassed us, and humiliated us,” they said in a statement.

The three men – Alvin Jackson, Emmanuel Jean Joseph, and Xavier Veal – were eventually allowed to re-take their seats on their original flight.

The incident is not the first time that American Airlines has faced allegations of discrimination.

In a separate incident in 2017, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, NAACP warned black travellers to avoid the airline, citing a pattern of “disrespectful” and “discriminatory” behaviour as well as a “corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias”.

They lifted the advisory the following year after the carrier announced it had made changes to its operations.

On 4 June this year, however, it warned that it could reinstate the warning the airline gave a “swift and decisive response” to the January incident.