After taking an American Airlines flight out of Charlotte, North Carolina with her boyfriend Kyetra Bryant noticed an fee on her bank statement: “African American African Service Charge” according to Charlotte Observer. Although they used different debit cards to pay for their luggage fees, Bryant’s boyfriend got the exact same statement Bryant said in a social media post.
American Airlines says they are not at fault for the offensive billing and the credit card company that handled the transaction agrees that the “African American African Service Charge” language didn’t come from American. Bryant says she has been trying to get an explanation, and an apology from the airline, since the incident the weekend after Thanksgiving. But as of now she hasn’t had any luck according to the newspaper.
After she was told to reach out to department to department she was eventually told the situation was being investigated, but she’s never received an answer as to how it happened.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect a response but I’m not stupid and no I don’t think it was a mistake. Never flying with them again,” Bryant said.
American says that when Bryant alerted the airline in mid-December, officials were “disturbed by what we saw and immediately launched an investigation into what occurred,” according to a statement from the company.
“The baggage fee was purchased at a self-service kiosk in Charlotte. 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,” the statement said. “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.”
According to the newspaper, Mastercard spokesperson said: “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 issuing and payment processing partners are working to understand how the error occurred so this does not happen again.”