American Airlines Racial Profiling

STATUS: Active

On May 29, 2024, Outten & Golden and our co-counsel Public Citizen filed a race discrimination lawsuit against American Airlines detailing a horrific incident of racial profiling against Black male passengers. We are proud to represent these plaintiffs as part of our commitment to advancing civil rights both in and outside the workplace.

On January 5, 2024, plaintiffs Alvin Jackson, Emmanuel Jean Joseph, and Xavier Veal boarded American Airlines Flight 832 from Phoenix (PHX) to New York (JFK). The plaintiffs had never met each other before that day, and they were not seated together on the plane.

Before takeoff, American Airlines approached the plaintiffs one-by-one and ordered them to deboard the plane without explanation. Five other Black male passengers were also removed from the plane. As they gathered on the jet bridge, it appeared that every Black man had been removed from the plane.

Once they arrived at the gate, American Airlines told the men they would not be allowed back on Flight 832 and would need to be rebooked. The men demanded answers for why they were removed, but American Airlines refused to give them an immediate explanation.

Eventually, an American Airlines representative informed the plaintiffs that they were removed because a white male flight attendant had complained about an unidentified passenger’s body odor. Notably, at no time did anyone accuse any of the plaintiffs of having offensive body odor. When the plaintiffs pointed out that they seemingly had been targeted because of their skin color, at least one American representative responded that she did “not disagree.”

After about an hour-long delay, American Airlines informed the plaintiffs that there were no other flights available that evening. It then reversed its decision and let the men reboard Flight 832.

The lawsuit further alleges that American Airlines has a documented history of race discrimination against passengers of color. In 2017, the NAACP issued a travel advisory warning Black passengers about “disrespectful, discriminatory, or unsafe conditions” on American Airlines.

The plaintiffs were humiliated and traumatized by their experience flying on American Airlines. They have filed a lawsuit to hold the airline accountable so that this type of racial profiling does not happen to anyone else. We are honored to represent these brave men and help them uphold their civil rights.

Outten & Golden: Three Black Men Sue American Airlines for Race Discrimination After Being Ordered Off Plane

The Washington Post: Lawsuit Says American Airlines Kicked 8 Black Men off Plane, Citing Body Odor

CBS News: 3 Black Passengers Sue American Airlines after Alleging Racial Discrimination Following Odor Complaint

The Guardian: Lawsuit against American Airlines Claims Black Passengers Were Asked to Deboard Flight

Bloomberg Law: American Airlines Sued by Black Male Passengers Taken Off Flight

The Hill: Group of Black Men File Racial Discrimination Lawsuit against American Airlines

New York Post: American Airlines Accused of ‘Blatant and Egregious Race Discrimination’ in Kicking Black Passengers off Flight

Daily Beast: American Airlines’ ‘Odor’ Excuse Reeked of Racism: Lawsuit

WFAA-TV: Three Black Men Sue American Airlines, Alleging Race Discrimination

WMDB News: American Airlines Sued for Removing Black Passengers from Flight

Newsday: Black Men Who Were Asked to Leave a Flight Sue American Airlines, Claiming Racial Discrimination

Jalopnik: American Airlines Sued For Kicking 8 Black Men Off Flight Over ‘Body Odor’

Travel and Tour World: 8 Black Men Sue American Airlines over Alleged Racial Discrimination Incident

MSN: Black Passengers Sue American Airlines, Alleging They Were Thrown off a Plane Because of False Body Odor Complaint

Social News XYZ: Lawsuit Alleges American Airlines Removed Black Men from Flight over Odor Complaint (Video)

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