American Airlines has released a statement about a racially insensitive service fee charged to Kyetra Bryant of Charlotte, North Carolina, United States on Thanksgiving Day. The customer said she and her boyfriend travelled out of Charlotte Douglas Airport on November 26, 2020 and checked in with the airline.
According to Bryant, she and her boyfriend paid for their own tickets and checked-in luggage. On November 28, 2020, she was surprised to find an “African American, African service charge” in her bank statement.
When Bryant contacted American Airlines about the charge, the representative she talked to did not give her a helpful explanation. From November 2020 to January 2021, she failed to get an explanation from the airline and her bank, which were both blaming each other for the racist charge.
Bryant has been an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at EF English First since November 2019. In January 2020, she joined Strayer University in Huntersville, North Carolina as an admissions officer.
American Airlines confirmed that Bryant did alert the airline to the offensively labeled baggage fee on her bank statement in December 2020. In a statement obtained by FOX 46, the airline said, “We were disturbed by what we saw and immediately launched an investigation to understand what occurred.”
“The baggage fee was purchased at a self-service kiosk in Charlotte,” the airline continued. “Our team members are unable to change text when processing a charge and we’ve determined the issue originated with the credit card company and bank issuer. We reached out to Mastercard who confirmed that American submitted the baggage fee information correctly during the payment process and Mastercard is conducting its own investigation.”
Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, American Airlines was founded in Chicago, Illinois, USA on April 15, 1926. Its current chairman and chief executive officer is Doug Parker.
In December 2020, American Airlines was one of the U.S. airlines that received money from a $15 billion payroll support package to protect workers’ jobs and salaries through March 2021. The airline’s employees should prepare for another round of furlough warnings as it expects to remain overstaffed on April 1, 2021, Parker told Reuters.