A Texas doctor was briefly removed from her flight on American Airlines and told by a staff member to cover up with a blanket before being allowed back on the plane.
What We Know:
- Dr. Tisha Rowe, who identifies as African American and Caribbean American, was on her way to Miami after vacationing in Kingston, Jamaica when the incident occurred.
- Dr. Rowe said that she was initially asked if she had a jacket because a member of the flight crew felt her outfit was inappropriate. The flight attendant offered her a blanket after she said she didn’t have a jacket and was eventually allowed to board. The family physician believes her race played a role in the confrontation.
- “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,” Dr. Rowe said. “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.”
- Dr. Rowe tweeted about the incident and a front and side view of her wearing the romper. Dr. Rowe said she felt humiliated in front of her 8-year-old son who was traveling with her.
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
- American Airlines reached out to Dr. Rowe and issued an apology and a refund, according to Spokeswoman Shannon Gilson. “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,” Ms. Gilson said. “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.”
American Airlines have had complaints about discrimination in the past. According to The New York Times, the N.A.A.C.P issued a national travel advisory for the airline in 2017, which warned black travelers of the possibility of being discriminated against or disrespected. The advisory wasn’t lifted until the airline agreed to train its employees and enact a new discrimination complaint resolution process.