Passenger accuses American Airlines of racism, saying it barred her from boarding a delayed flight because of her tone of voice

Business Insider
Business Insider
A passenger said she had been due to fly from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Grenada in the Caribbean.
  • A passenger accused American Airlines of racism and of barring her from a flight.
  • She said a staff member suggested her tone was threatening when she spoke about a delay.
  • An American Airlines representative told the New York Post it takes discrimination claims seriously.

A passenger accused American Airlines of racism, saying the carrier barred her from boarding a delayed flight because of the tone of her voice.

The New York Post first reported the news.

Kyleema Norman tweeted on Sunday that her flight from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Grenada in the Caribbean had been delayed by three hours because of mechanical problems. Later, Norman, who's Black, tweeted that the airline had prevented only her and her daughter from getting on the plane because Norman "spoke up."

Norman told the Post that a staff member told her: "Your tone at 35,000 feet — I don't think I'd be able to trust you'd be safe in the air with a pilot and other people."

Norman, whose LinkedIn page indicates she works at the New York City Department of Education, said she'd spoken to a staff member in her "teacher voice" to express concern about the flight delay. "I didn't curse him, threaten him, show bodily harm or make a scene," she added.

Norman said in another tweet that she had been denied the option of rebooking her flight or obtaining her luggage. In response to one of Norman's tweets, American Airlines said : "Delays can be very upsetting. Please continue to work with the airport team for assistance with any possible rebooking."

The following day Norman said she'd tried to get in touch with the company but staffers told her they couldn't help. American Airlines said in a reply to her tweet that "it will take some time to review what happened at the gate."

Norman posted a video on Twitter of what she said was her conversation with Port Authority police officers about the situation at the airport.

"This is what @AmericanAir is calling erratic behavior!" she said in the tweet. "Please watch. At which point do I look like a threat to anyone's safety!"

American Airlines and Norman didn't immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment outside of US operating hours.

An American Airlines representative told the Post that it took all discrimination claims seriously and was investigating the incident internally. The representative said the airline's customer-service team was in contact with Norman to find out more about what happened and apologize.

Norman said in a tweet that the trip to Grenada was a graduation present from her and her husband to their daughter. "Who knew the gift would be her watching me getting banned from our flight on American Airlines and witnessing the outrage of racism," Norman said.

The Post said it obtained emails showing that the passenger-refunds department referred Norman to her travel agency for reimbursement but the agency referred her back to American Airlines.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Comments / 277

Toker to the right

It's a private company they can do what they want. On a serious note though don't give staff at the airport attitude it's only asking for trouble. Also the accusation of racism is completely without meaning now because of people like her, now racism simply means you disagreed with or did something a person of another race didn't like.


Talked to the agent in her “teachers voice”! Not sir!! Listen to me or you will have to stay after school or go the principals office! Everyone else was delayed and this lady is sooo so special that she gets to teach the gate agent!!! Special person alert!!

No one you know

ALWAYS able to fall back on THAT RACE CARD when things don’t go your way. Yet, thousands of others experienced delayed or cancelled flights without incident. Seems like that “chip on her shoulder” would be tiresome.


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