American Airlines issues apology to Black woman for forcing her to cover up on flight
The woman, a mother and physician who was traveling from Jamaica, says she was unfairly treated for wearing something casual and unoffensive on her vacation
American Airlines issued an apology to an African American doctor who was threatened by a flight attendant that she would get kicked off her flight if she didn’t cover up her strapless romper.
Latisha “Tisha” Rowe, who practices family medicine in Houston, tweeted June 30 that she had to cover up her clothes on a flight from Jamaica to Miami with her 8-year-old son because her outfit was “distracting” to the flight crew.
She said she was told if she didn’t comply, she and her son would not be allowed to fly.
Rowe said she was approached by a flight attendant who asked her to leave the plane. They then discussed her attire and she said the flight attendant asked if she had a jacket to cover up because the romper didn’t have straps and her shoulders were showing.
Here is what i was wearing when @AmericanAir asked me to deplane for a talk. At which point I was asked to “cover up”. When defending my outfit I was threatened with not getting back on the flight unless I walked down the aisle wrapped in a blanket. #notsofriendlyskies pic.twitter.com/AYQNNriLcq
— Tisha Rowe MD, MBA (@tisharowemd) July 1, 2019
Feeling humiliated, Rowe said she used a blanket to cover up for the duration of the flight. But she took to twitter in a new viral post and showed the outfit that was at issue.
“I’m disgusted,” Rowe wrote on Twitter. “I’m tweeting so I won’t cry. Seriously. My heart hurts. … Just before boarding I posted my trip was unforgettable. Now it’s even more unforgettable, but not in a good way.”
American Airlines has a policy in place called a “contract of carriage” that mandates customers “Dress appropriately; bare feet or offensive clothing aren’t allowed.” However, there is no clear example of what kind of clothing would be deemed offensive.
Rowe said she was “completely covered” and she is upset that her son cried the entire flight and covered his head because of the ordeal.
American Airlines sent a statement of PEOPLE apologizing for the incident.
“We were concerned about Dr. Rowe’s comments, and reached out to her and our team at the Kingston airport to gather more information about what occurred,” said spokeswoman Shannon Gilson.
“We apologize to Dr. Rowe and her son for their experience, and have fully refunded their travel.”
“We are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds and are committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us,” Gilson added.
Rowe also also accused the airline of body shaming.
“As a mother my body has changed dramatically,” Rowe said. “Those changes mean more curves. It took time to appreciate them only to be shamed for them and even worse tell my son to be ashamed of my body as well. #bodyshaming.”