The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates’ staff attorney, Juvaria Khan, on the recent passage of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018, which includes a provision to train employees regarding racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination. More specifically, the bill “requires the Comptroller General to report to Congress within the next six months on each air carrier’s training policy for its employees and contractors regarding racial, ethnic, and religious nondiscrimination.” The section also requires the Secretary of Transportation to “develop and disseminate to air carriers best practices necessary to improve” these nondiscrimination trainings, and specifically based on consultations with “passengers of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds [and] national organizations that represent impacted communities.” Muslim Advocates has been urging airlines to adopt clear anti-bias training, standards and policies in the aftermath of multiple instances of airlines discriminating against passengers because of their race or religion:
Over the past few years, we have seen far too many incidents of airlines discriminating against passengers based on a traveler’s race, ethnicity, or religion. We are glad to see this clear and constructive step forward to ensure that all Americans can travel free of discrimination, and we applaud Senators Nelson and Booker for their leadership in the passage of these important provisions.
The discriminatory treatment of people based on their race, ethnicity, and religion is unacceptable and policies like this one are a step forward in the face of hate and bigotry. We encourage airlines to follow suit and enact company-wide policies to match, and exceed, these new standards. We similarly urge all passengers to know their rights while traveling.