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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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

Wedding gear stranded after Ian closes SC beach town access

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Saturday turned out to be a sparklingly beautiful fall day in Pawleys Island, an idyllic spot for an early fall wedding in South Carolina, sandwiched between the Atlantic oceanfront and expansive marshland that typify the state’s coastal beauty. But the perfect wedding day almost didn’t come together for two families […]
13 hours ago
FILE - Democratic candidate for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams poses for a portrait in front of the...
Associated Press

GOP attacks Georgia’s Abrams on voting as judge rejects suit

ATLANTA (AP) — When Democrat Stacey Abrams narrowly lost the Georgia governor’s race to Republican Brian Kemp four years ago, she didn’t go quietly. She ended her campaign with a nonconcession that acknowledged she wouldn’t be governor, while spotlighting her claims that Kemp had used his post as secretary of state to improperly purge likely […]
13 hours ago
This is an aerial view of a damaged trailer park after Hurricane Ian passed by the area Saturday, O...
Associated Press

Ian leaves dozens dead as focus turns to rescue, recovery

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — With a death toll nearing three dozen, rescuers searched on Saturday for survivors among the Florida homes ruined by Hurricane Ian, while authorities in South Carolina began assessing damage from the powerful storm’s strike there as stunned residents began the painstaking task of surveying their losses. Ian, one of the […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Governor’s office reports at least 4 N.C. storm fatalities

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The remnants of Hurricane Ian downed trees and power lines across North Carolina, and at least four fatalities connected to the severe weather were reported Saturday. In Johnston County, outside of Raleigh, a woman found her husband dead early Saturday morning after he went to check on a generator running in […]
13 hours ago
FILE - A woman holds a poster depicting Brazil's Justice Minister Sergio Moro behind bars, wearing ...
Associated Press

Fortunes reverse for ex-judge and Brazil president he jailed

CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) — When federal judge Sergio Moro resigned to enter politics, many in Brazil believed the anti-corruption crusader who jailed a popular former president could someday occupy the nation’s most powerful office. But on the eve of Brazil’s general election Sunday, the once-revered magistrate was fighting what polls showed was a losing battle […]
13 hours ago
FILE - This undated file photo posted on Twitter on June 18, 2020, by Venezuela's Foreign Minister ...
Associated Press

Venezuela releases 7 jailed Americans; US frees 2 prisoners

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a rare softening of hostile relations, the White House said Saturday that Venezuela freed seven Americans imprisoned in the South American country and the United States released two nephews of President Nicholas Maduro’s wife who had been jailed for years on drug smuggling convictions. The swap of the Americans, including five […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
American Samoan teacher cites bias for airline treatment