American Airlines Allegedly Charges Passenger ‘African American’ Fee

While checking her bank statement on Saturday (January 30), Kyetra Bryant saw something unusual and offensive. 

The Charlotte, North Carolina resident told Fox46 News American Airlines had charged her an “African American service charge” following a flight she took with her boyfriend over the Thanksgiving holiday. 

“I said hmmm, ‘African American, African service charge.’ It was just on my cell phone because I was looking at my banking app,” she explained. “I’m like ‘what is this?’” 

She wasted no time contacting the airline, but says no one was helpful. 

“She’s like I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bryant said about the airline representative she spoke to over the phone. 

“I’m like I have a screenshot here on two different phones and a computer, and it says it’s from American Charlotte, and I want to know why it’s listed this way?” 

Between November and January, neither the bank nor the airline was any help. In fact, Bryant says they blamed each other for the charge. 

“The bank told American directly, we don’t have anything to do with that. When you put something into your system, we charge it as the merchant charges it, and that’s it,” she said. “To this day it hasn’t changed on each of our statements.” 

The airline released a statement to the news outlet, stating that they “were disturbed by what they saw,” and confirming that they completed their own investigation, and left it to MasterCard to launch their own. 

“We were disturbed by what we saw and immediately launched an investigation to understand what occurred,” the statement reads. “Our team members are unable to change text when processing a charge and we’ve determined the issue originated with the credit card company and bank issuer. We reached out to MasterCard who confirmed that American submitted the baggage fee information correctly during the payment process and MasterCard is conducting its own investigation.” 

MasterCard shared the following statement on the matter with BIN:

"We are in the process of conducting a thorough investigation, however it is our understanding that American Airlines is not responsible for this error. American Airlines submitted the transaction correctly for a checked baggage purchase – including the proper merchant name. Our bank partner is working to understand how the error occurred so this does not happen again."

Bryant told the outlet she’s planning to reach back out and is hoping to get an apology. 

“There’s really no justification. We definitely feel targeted. That’s an instance of racial bias,” Bryant said. 

Photo: Getty Images

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