American Samoan teacher cites bias for airline treatment

Jul 29, 2021, 9:21 AM | Updated: 10:00 am

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The American Samoan teacher of the year said she and an Asian American friend were refused a free hotel room and other benefits provided to a white male friend when their American Airlines flight from north Alabama was canceled.

Sabrina Suluai-Mahuka told WIAT-TV that she believed discrimination was behind the slight, which followed a recent trip to attend Space Camp, a program of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, with other U.S. teachers of the year.

“My friend is Korean, and I am Samoan-Filipino. I am dark-skinned, I have tattoos over my body, and (the man) is the definition of a white American male,” she said. “We flew on the same airline. Why did the policy suddenly change when it came to a white male?”

The airline said a mistake, not discrimination, was behind the problem. It said it was contacting Suluai-Mahuka and would reimburse her hotel expenses.

“American Airlines strives to ensure all customers feel cared for throughout their journey. We’re deeply concerned by the allegations shared and are working to investigate the matter further,” the company said in a statement.

Suluai-Mahuka said she asked for overnight accommodations when her flight was canceled because of weather, but the request was refused, as was a request from a friend of Korean heritage.

Soon after, Ohio teacher of the year Anthony Coy-Gonzalez, a friend of Suluai-Mahuka, found out his American flight was canceled and was given overnight accommodations and more.

“My friends and fellow teachers of the year, both AAPI, were denied the privilege I was offered 20 minutes later with the same representatives when our flight was canceled,” Coy-Gonzalez said in a social media post. “They were given nothing but dismissal when they requested help. I walked in and was offered a hotel, taxi, and meal without asking. Same flight. Same time. Same airline. American Airlines, this is not okay.”

American has a policy against providing housing to passengers when a flight is canceled, the company’s statement said, but an initial investigation showed a worker incorrectly provided one hotel voucher after Flight 5113 was canceled Monday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Germany seeks to boost immigration of skilled workers

BERLIN (AP) — The German government said Wednesday that it plans to ease entry rules for immigrants from outside the European Union to help meet Germany’s demand for skilled workers. Experts say Europe’s biggest economy needs about 400,000 skilled immigrants each year as the country’s ageing workforce shrinks, particularly to fill vacancies in the health […]
6 hours ago
FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2019, file photo, Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg talks to th...
Associated Press

Gaetz friend says lighter sentence deserved for cooperation

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida tax collector whose arrest led to a federal investigation of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz learns this week how much prison time he gets on charges of sex trafficking a minor and identity theft, but not before trying to persuade a judge that his cooperation in several probes should […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Four of the cooling towers of the Dukovany nuclear power plant rise high above the natural s...
Associated Press

3 energy companies vying to build new Czech nuke reactor

PRAGUE (AP) — Three energy companies including U.S. Westinghouse, France’s EdF and Korea’s KHNP will by vying to build the Czech Republic’s newest reactor at the Dukovany nuclear power station, authorities said Wednesday, as the country strives to become more energy independent and wean itself of fossil fuels. State-controlled power company CEZ says final bids […]
6 hours ago
Associated Press

6 ways to boost your credit card rewards this holiday season

Get your wallet ready — it’s that time again with the holidays right around the corner. An estimated 91% of Americans will celebrate in some form this holiday season, a November report from the National Retail Federation shows. And for most people, celebration means spending. According to a September study by the Deloitte Center for […]
6 hours ago
This photo provided by Hyundai shows the 2022 Hyundai Tucson, a small plug-in hybrid SUV with an el...
Associated Press

Edmunds: Toyota RAV4 Prime vs. Hyundai Tucson Plug-in

Since its debut for the 2021 model year, the Toyota RAV4 Prime has served as a benchmark for what a small SUV with a plug-in hybrid powertrain can be. It’s efficient, fast and nearly as practical as a regular RAV4. But now SUV shoppers have another choice to consider: the Hyundai Tucson PHEV. It too […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, founder of the local newspaper Apple Daily, arrives a dist...
Associated Press

Hong Kong rags-to-riches publisher facing Security Law trial

HONG KONG (AP) — Jimmy Lai broke into Hong Kong’s rambunctious media world 30 years ago armed with the belief that delivering information equates with protecting freedom. Lai’s own freedom is at stake as he fights charges of endangering national security as former publisher of his now-defunct pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily. Already serving a 20-month […]
6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
American Samoan teacher cites bias for airline treatment