A doctor was left humiliated after she was removed from a recent American Airlines flight and made to cover herself with a blanket before being allowed back on the plane.
Dr Tisha Rowe, who identifies as African American and Caribbean American, believes her race was a factor in her being removed from the flight from Jamaica to Miami with her eight-year-old son.
The 37-year-old tweeted a selfie of the romper she was wearing on the flight, telling her followers: ‘Here is what I was wearing when @AmericanAir asked me to deplane for a talk. At which point I was asked to ‘cover up’. When defending my outfit I was threatened with not getting back on the flight unless I walked down the aisle wrapped in a blanket. #notsofriendlyskies’
Speaking to The New York Times, Dr Rowe explained:
Had they seen that same issue in a woman who was not a woman of color, they would not have felt empowered to take me off the plane.
In pop culture, especially black women with a body like mine, they’re often portrayed as video vixens. So I’ve had to deal with those stereotypes my whole life.
According to a spokesperson, American Airlines has since apologised to Dr Rowe and agreed to issue a refund for the flight.
Here is what i was wearing when @AmericanAir asked me to deplane for a talk. At which point I was asked to “cover up”. When defending my outfit I was threatened with not getting back on the flight unless I walked down the aisle wrapped in a blanket. #notsofriendlyskies pic.twitter.com/AYQNNriLcq
— Tisha Rowe MD, MBA (@tisharowemd) July 1, 2019
Shannon Gilson, an American Airlines spokeswoman, said:
We were concerned about Dr. Rowe’s comments, and reached out to her and our team at the Kingston airport to gather more information about what occurred.
We apologize to Dr. Rowe and her son for their experience, and have fully refunded their travel. We are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds.
This isn’t the first time American Airlines has been faced with discrimination complaints.
In 2017 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a national travel advisory for the airline, warning black travellers could face ‘discriminatory’ or ‘disrespectful’ treatment while travelling with the company.
This came after several incidents were reported in which black passengers were being removed from flights or bumped from first class.
The NAACP lifted the travel advisory last July after the airline agreed to deliver training for its 130,000 employees in addition to adopting a new discrimination complaint resolution process. The airline also agreed to do an inclusion gap and diversity analysis of the company.
On Tuesday, American Airlines said it plans to hire a chief inclusion and diversity officer, and establish an office for ‘diversity, equity and inclusion.’
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.