A passenger removed from a flight is suing American Airlines over what he claims was 'blatant racial discrimination,' lawsuit says

An American Airlines Plane
The incident occurred at Miami airport in February 2021.Getty Images
  • Troskie Stewart is suing American Airlines after he was removed from a flight in February 2021.

  • He believed he was the victim of an "act of blatant racial discrimination," per the lawsuit.

  • Stewart said he was "embarrassed and humiliated" and felt "like a second-class citizen."

A passenger is suing American Airlines, claiming racial discrimination, after he was removed from a plane at Miami International Airport following an altercation with a flight attendant.

Troskie Stewart, 43, is identified as "an American citizen of African descent" in the lawsuit, which was filed on Friday in the North Florida District Court. The lawsuit was first reported by Paddle Your Own Kanoo.

Stewart planned to fly to Atlanta Hartsfield airport on February 6, 2021 and claimed he was subject to what the lawsuit described as "an act of blatant racial discrimination" on the American plane.

After taking his seat, Stewart began putting his carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment. According to court documents, a flight attendant approached Stewart and told him to leave the aisle. She said she "didn't want any trouble out of him" and that he was "holding up passengers boarding," per the suit.

Stewart said he was simply stowing his luggage and complied with the flight attendant's request after doing so. Soon afterwards, he stood up again to allow another passenger to access their seat.

Stewart claims the flight attendant "immediately" returned and demanded that he take his seat or risk being removed from the planed. He was "embarrassed and humiliated," but complied in an "attempt to avoid confrontation."

After a second passenger seated in Stewart's row arrived, he said he stood up again and helped her pick up some belongings that had fallen onto the cabin floor, per the lawsuit.

The same flight attendant again reprimanded Stewart and said she was going to get him "kicked off the aircraft."

When other passengers spoke up on his behalf, Stewart claimed the flight attendant said: "You are only talking up for him because you look like him – you are probably his relative."

An American Airlines employee was summoned to escort Stewart from the plane. According to the lawsuit, Stewart was "confused" and "humiliated" and said he felt "like a second-class citizen."

He believed that the flight attendant's "feelings and concerns" were prioritized over his, and that he was "deeply affected" by the incident, according to the lawsuit. Stewart was put on the next flight to Atlanta.

American Airlines and lawyers for Stewart did not respond to requests for comment from Insider.

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