Just days after Women’s March co-founder Tamika Mallory accused an American Airlines pilot of discrimination, another young African American woman is coming forward with her own tale of an “aggressive” pilot.
Harvard Law student Briana Williams, 24, tells the New York Daily News she’s still furious about being booted from an American Airlines flight on Aug. 21, after she had requested her daughter’s stroller back during a delay. And, like Mallory, Williams says it was her pilot who ultimately made the call.
According to Williams, she and her 4-month old daughter were flying to New York City on Flight 1678 out of Atlanta, but due to weather, the aircraft returned to the gate and passengers were told to deplane. On the way out, however, Williams says she asked the staff if they would retrieve a stroller she checked at the gate, but they denied her request. But Williams wasn’t about to take no for an answer.
“I told a crew member that I was not going to be leaving the aircraft without my stroller,” Williams said.
At that point, Williams says her pilot became involved. “He was very disgruntled and angry,” she told the Daily News.
The pilot eventually called police to escort Williams from the plane, and she spent the rest of the night at the airport with her 4-month-old. Her fellow passengers were allowed to board a later flight, but American booked Williams on a different flight leaving in the morning.
Now, Williams says she’s considering a lawsuit against the carrier, alleging that the “unregulated discretion” of American Airlines pilots is leading to a “discriminatory policy.”
“The pilot put me in a potentially dangerous situation with law enforcement as a young, black woman, saying that I was a ‘threat,’” Williams told the Daily News, "This type of rhetoric paralyzes the African-American community, and I want to ensure that policies are put in place that regulate the pilot’s discretionary abilities.”
Williams also added that she’s only now coming forward with this story after reading about Tamika Mallory’s incident aboard an American Airlines flight on Sunday.
American, meanwhile, does not deny they booked Williams on a separate flight, but would not elaborate, merely saying it was in “the best interest of everyone involved.” They did, however, offer compensation in the form of 25,000 AAdvantage miles, which Williams says she declined.
“American spoke directly with Ms. Williams, and as a gesture of goodwill, provided her 25,000 AAdvantage® miles, which can be redeemed for a future roundtrip flight on American Airlines,” the airline confirmed in a statement to Fox News.
“American does not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” the airline’s statement continued. “From the team members we hire to the customers we serve, inclusion and diversity is a way of life at American. Every day, our team members work to make American a place where people of all generations, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religious affiliations and backgrounds feel welcome and valued.
“All of our team members — which includes our gate agents, pilots and flight attendants – are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds and we are committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us.”
Williams’ grievance with American Airlines comes only days after Women’s March co-founder and NYC-based activist Tamika Mallory claimed she was the target of “white male aggression” after accusing an American Airlines pilot of disrespect, discrimination and intimidation.