American Airlines Responds To Passenger's Claim Of 'African American Service Fee'
Photo Credit: Getty Inages

Photo Credit: Getty Inages

American Airlines Responds To Passenger's Claim Of 'African American Service Fee'

American Airlines , Charlotte , United States , news
Parker Diakite
Parker Diakite Feb 1, 2021

An American Airlines spokesperson said the company is “incredibly disturbed” by a Charlotte woman’s claim of a “racially insensitive” charge on her bank statement.

Kyetra Bryant told Fox 46 that she and her boyfriend were traveling out of Charlotte Douglas Airport on Thanksgiving Day, where she paid for her own ticket and checked-in luggage. She said after checking her bank statement, she found “African American, Africa Service Charge” posted on her account but didn’t find it on her boyfriend’s after comparing the charges to his.

“I’m like ‘what is this?’” she said.

Bryant said she contacted the airlines, but no one helped her even after explaining that she had a screenshot on two different phones and computers with the charge.

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“After consulting with Mastercard, we were able to verify that the issue did not originate with American,” the[American] spokesperson told Travel Noire. “The baggage fee was purchased at a self-service kiosk in Charlotte with a Capital One Debit card. All bank statement transaction descriptions are managed through the issuing bank, in this case, Capital One. Mastercard has confirmed that American correctly submitted the transaction information during the payment process.”

American Airlines adds, “Capital One and its payment processing partners are conducting their own investigation to determine the root cause and correct the issue. Our Customer Relations team has reached out to Ms. Bryant to update her on the findings of our investigation.”

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A spokesperson from Capital One said there was a technical issue as a result of a miscoding of a merchant’s name and is “entirely unrelated to any specific customer information.”

“We are aware that a customer has come forward expressing concern with how a recent transaction was recorded on their banking statement. We immediately began investigating the issue and have attempted to make contact with the customer to apologize for any confusion and provide insight into the situation,” the statement from Capital One reads. “At Capital One, we created a proprietary system that offers our customers greater details on all of their transactions. We do this in part by using technology that relies on an external database of business information.  We are actively investigating precisely where the technology misinterpreted the merchant data, and we are correcting the issue.”

Mastercard tells Travel Noire, “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.”

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