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Black first-class passenger says American Airlines sent her to the back of the plane

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In a report by The Root, American Airlines passenger Rane Baldwin, who is black, said she had her first-class ticket demoted on May due to supposed overbooking while her white friend’s ticket was not — and the allegedly poor treatment that ensued appears to Baldwin and her friend to be the work of racism.

Baldwin told The Root that despite upgrading two tickets for her and her friend Janet Novack, she was given a boarding pass with a seat at the back of the plane. After questioning the ticket agent, she was offered an explanation: that a “plane change” made for fewer first-class seats.

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Upon boarding the flight, Baldwin said she was ignored by the flight attendant while Novack was not, and both women commented on the apparent distinction in treatment by flight staff between the two of them as Novack decided to move to coach to sit with her friend.

“As she asked questions, she was ignored. However, whenever I asked the same questions, I received thorough answers,” Novack said in a tweet to American Airlines, referring to how Baldwin was treated by staff.

Moreover, Novack added in the long tweet thread to American Airlines, “the whole reason that I was flying first class was because I was associated with her and her reservation. They were ignoring the card holder.”

Baldwin said she issued a complaint to American Airlines, but hasn’t yet gotten a response. Novack, on the other hand, got immediate responses from American Airlines after tweeting to them.

“I’ve never felt so unimportant my entire life. This flight was the most blatantly racist thing that’s ever happened to me. It was baffling and hurtful that the crew seemed completely aware of what they were doing and just didn’t care,” Baldwin told The Root.

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You can read Novack’s entire tweet thread about the allegedly racist incident below.

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