Los Angeles news station KTLA is reporting that a black man and 5 fellow passengers have sued American Airlines for a May 31st incident where Elgin Banks, an African American, was removed from a flight over an alleged seating dispute. The 5 passengers joining Banks in the suit tell a different story and have stated that American Airlines was discriminatory in their decision to remove Banks from the flight.
According to KTLA’s report, Elgin Banks boarded a May 31st flight in Los Angeles destined for Phoenix. During the boarding process it was suggested that passengers could change seats after the boarding process was complete, however when Banks went to do so he was allegedly told to sit back down and stop raising his voice. After some disputed back and forth, airport security was called and Banks was removed from the flight, and according to a subsequent report from NBC, banned from the airline.
The aforementioned 5 fellow passengers tell a different story suggesting that Banks was unfairly targeted based on his race. After defending Banks all of the involved passengers were removed from the flight and have joined Banks in the lawsuit.
The NBC report provides a statement from American Airlines who disputes the entire account:
“During the boarding process, he attempted to relocate to the first-class cabin prior to leaving the gate,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “One of the seats he attempted to sit in was assigned to another passenger. The disruption on board required deplaning passengers with the flight departing the next day.”
American Airlines was recently in the news last week over the removal of a passenger who refused to wear a face mask.
image sourced from AA.com
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