6 passengers sue American Airlines, claiming racial discrimination on flight out of LAX

Local news

Six passengers are suing American Airlines after they were removed from a flight at LAX over what they claim was racial discrimination.

Five passengers said they spoke up when staff seemingly singled out Elgin Banks, a black man, for unequal treatment after they boarded their May 31 flight from Los Angeles to Phoenix.

Passengers were told they were free to swap seats prior to takeoff, they said. But a member of the aircraft staff stopped only Banks, telling him to sit back down.

After telling Banks not to raise his voice, which he did not do, staff told him he had to get off the plane, passenger Natalie Epstein told KTLA.

Five fellow passengers protested and demanded an explanation, they said. Ultimately, security was called and all six were kicked off the flight and banned from the airline.

“They had me thinking that I really did something,” Banks said. “I was actually going to get off the plane, but the people that stood by me said, ‘No sir. You did not do anything wrong. Do not go anywhere.'”

American Airlines has since called Banks to apologize.

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