Freedom to Fly

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On June 30, as I was flying back to Miami after a vacation in Jamaica, an American Airlines flight attendant told me I wouldn’t be allowed to board the flight without putting a jacket over my outfit. Although my outfit covered ALL of my assets, they told me that I was in violation of their dress code. I was humiliated in front of my son and other passengers and required to cover with a blanket. While American Airlines offered an apology and a refund, this isn’t just about me and my outfit--it’s about the way that the bodies of women and people of color are called “inappropriate,” and it’s time we say that enough is enough.

Dress codes have a long history of injustice towards communities of color, and American Airlines is part of that history. Just as recently as 2017 the NAACP issued an advisory for Black travelers on the airline, stating that booking and boarding flights on AA could subject them to “disrespectful, discriminatory, or unsafe conditions." 

Join me in boycotting American Airlines until they make a commitment to:

  • Updating their policies and dress code with clear, specific language about what may and may not be worn on planes
  • Removing the overly vague word “appropriate” from their current dress code policy
  • Committing to providing training for their employees on implicit bias, including onboarding and follow-up trainings for old and new employees alike
  • Documenting future dress code infractions in order to improve biased interpretations of dress code  

Please sign and share with anyone who agrees with Dr. Martin Luther King that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” 

Thank you for your support,

Dr. Tisha Rowe, MD, MBA