American Airlines removes all Black passengers from flight following complaint about ‘body odour’

A lawsuit alleges that a group of Black passengers were forced to leave an American Airlines plane after the flight crew complained about body odor. This incident occurred in January when eight men, who did not know each other and were sitting separately, were reportedly removed from the aircraft while it was still on the tarmac at Phoenix Airport, ready to depart for New York JFK. The incident has shocked many.

According to the legal claim, the disruption occurred when a “white male flight attendant” raised concerns about an “offensive body odor” on Flight 832, leading the men to disembark from the plane.

The airline staff tried for an hour to find alternative flights for the men, but unfortunately, they were unsuccessful. They then requested the men to return to the plane and go back to their seats. As a result, three of the eight men have decided to file a lawsuit against the airline, claiming racial discrimination.

In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the men stated, “American Airlines targeted us because we are Black, causing us embarrassment and humiliation.” In response to these allegations, the airline, based in Texas, declared that it was investigating the serious claims, which contradicted its core values.

Consumer rights organization Public Citizen has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Alvin Jackson, Emmanuel Jean Joseph, and Xavier Veal. According to reports from the Mirror, the three men allege that they noticed “every Black man on the flight was being removed” as they were disembarking the plane.

The men originally flew from Los Angeles without any issues. However, when they arrived at the gate for their connecting flight, an airline representative informed them that they were being removed due to a complaint from a white male flight attendant about an unidentified passenger’s body odor.

“We believe that the only reason for this treatment is the color of our skin,” the men expressed in their statement, emphasizing, “It is evident that this incident involved racial discrimination.”

When the airline staff failed to book them on alternative flights, they were given permission to re-board the plane. This happened after the pilot made a public announcement to inform the other passengers about the delay caused by a supposed “body odour” problem. However, the individuals filing the complaint deny these claims about any odour in the lawsuit.

According to court documents, the plaintiffs felt a range of intense emotions, including embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, anger, and distress throughout the flight. These feelings were triggered by various interactions with the white male flight attendant, starting from the moment they reboarded the plane and lasting until they landed.

After enduring an unjustifiable delay, the passengers were subjected to a humiliating experience as they made their way back to their seats. They had to navigate through a sea of predominantly white passengers, many of whom regarded them with anger and unwarranted suspicion. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from the airline, aiming to address the trauma suffered by these passengers.

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According to Huhta, the lawyer representing the clients in the recent lawsuit filed at the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, it is difficult to fathom any explanation for this incident other than racial discrimination. She emphasized that this is especially troubling considering that the individuals involved did not know each other and were not seated in close proximity.

American Airlines has not provided any explanation for the ejection of the men from the flight. However, they have emphasized in a statement that they take all claims of discrimination very seriously.

According to their statement, the airline expressed their commitment to ensuring a positive experience for their customers. They emphasized that the claims made in the article are not in line with their core values or their mission of caring for people. Their teams are currently conducting an investigation into the matter.

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