Just two months after the NAACP lifted its travel advisory against American Airlines, the company found itself apologizing to a member of the Hip-Hop community for an alleged racist incident.

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The airline offered an apology and explanation to Wale, whose real name is Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, for his complaint that two flight attendants questioned his first-class tickets.

“We just want to apologize to Wale for what really occurred here. We understand his frustration. …He’s a good customer of ours. He flies with us regularly. We really just want to apologize profusely,” an American Airlines spokesperson said.


Wale’s incident occurred Sept. 16, on a flight from New York to Los Angeles. Initially, he was tweeting about a long flight delay. Later, he tweeted that two employees questioned his place in the first-class cabin, sharing a photo of his ticket that showed his seat assignment. Having a first-class ticket in hand, however, didn’t stop the flight attendants from insisting that Wale didn’t belong there.

American Airlines alleged that the problem of a system error that failed to register Wale’s seat assignment.

Passengers had to get off the plane to correct a maintenance issue, and many passengers sat in the wrong seats when they re-boarded the aircraft. The flight attendants “were just trying to figure out why he wasn’t listed on the flight in the first place. His seat was inadvertently dropped in the system when they boarded back.”