NC woman discovers racist bank charge after American Airlines flight

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — A Charlotte woman wants an explanation from American Airlines regarding a racially insensitive bank charge.

Kyetra Bryant said while traveling out of Charlotte Douglas Airport on Thanksgiving Day, she and her boyfriend were checking in with American Airlines.

She said they had both paid for their own tickets and checked-in luggage, but when she looked at her bank statement that Saturday, she found a strange charge.

“I said hmmm, ‘African American, African service charge.’ It was just on my cell phone because I was looking at my banking app. I’m like ‘what is this?'” she explained.

Bryant contacted the airlines immediately, but said no one was helpful.

“She’s like I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bryant said about the representative. “I’m like I have a screenshot here on two different phones and a computer, and it says it’s from American Charlotte, and I want to know why it’s listed this way?”

From November to January, she would get the runaround from the airlines and her bank. Both blaming the other for the peculiar charge.

“The bank told American directly, we don’t have anything to do with that. When you put something into your system, we charge it as the merchant charges it, and that’s it,” she said. “To this day it hasn’t changed on each of our statements.”

FOX 46 reached out to American Airlines and here’s what they had to say:

“The customer alerted American to the offensively labeled baggage fee on her bank statement in mid-December. We were disturbed by what we saw and immediately launched an investigation to understand what occurred. 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. 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.”

FOX 46 shared the statement with Bryant and she said there’s no one that could be true.

“There’s really no justification. We definitely felt targeted. That’s an instance of racial bias.”

Bryant plans to reach back out to both parties and hopefully get an apology in the near future.

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