Black men sue American Airlines over racial discrimination claim

Three Black men claim they were removed from a flight and embarrassed over body odor accusations.
San Diego International Airport
San Diego International Airport / Kevin Carter/GettyImages

American Airlines is caught up in a disturbing lawsuit as three Black men have filed a racial discrimination claim against the carrier. Their allegations include being removed from the flight after a complaint from other passengers about their body odor.

The flight in question was on January 5, departing from Phoenix, Arizona, and heading to New York. Alvin Jackson, Emmanuel Jean Joseph, and Xavier Veal were not seated together and did not know each other. According to their statement, every Black man that was on the flight was removed.

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

According to the federal lawsuit, the men were seated and prepared to depart when they were approached separately by a flight attendant and told to exit the plane. At the flight gate, they along with five other Black men were told that they were removed because a “white male flight attendant had complained about an unidentified passenger’s body odor.” American Airlines attempted to rebook them on another flight, but there were no other services available. They were then allowed to take their original seats on the flight to New York. Before seating the pilot made an announcement saying that there was a delay due to “body odor” which they say is a false accusation. Earlier that day, they all flew from Los Angeles without any issues.

American Airlines released a statement which said: “We take all claims of discrimination very seriously and want our customers to have a positive experience when they choose to fly with us. Our teams are currently investigating the matter, as the claims to not reflect our core values or our purpose or caring for people.”

This comes after another, similar matter on United Airlines in early May in which a Jewish passenger claims his tickets were canceled without notice. For more news on these and similar matters in travel, stick to TripSided.