American Airlines CEO Doug Parker Has Been Wearing A Black Lives Matter Wristband Since May

At an employee event this past week American Airlines CEO Doug Parker was asked about the Black Lives Matter wristband he was wearing and he offered, “I understand it’s somewhat controversial because of the organization but the words are what I care about and I’ve been wearing it since the murder of George Floyd.”

In late May, days after Floyd was killed, Parker had a personal interaction with a Southwest Airlines flight attendant over race that went viral after he flew the airline and was carrying the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism which had been recommended by a board member months earlier, but that he’d put aside distracted by the coronavirus crisis.

In September Parker and his wife took this flight attendant to dinner. And shortly thereafter American made Black Lives Matter pins available to employees. (Of course United Airlines is far more woke than American.)

In the fall I criticized Parker for talking up issues of race without having African Americans in leadership at the airline. However Lakshman Amaranayaka was named Vice President of the Philadelphia hub in December, when American moved Jim Moses to Dallas Fort-Worth, and Cedric Rockamore – American’s once-Vice President for DFW, is back as a new Vice President in HR.

Parker used to wear a wristband, in his telling, “that says CECFTM, which is a terrible acronym because it doesn’t say anything, but it stands for Create an Environment that Cares for our Frontline Team Members.” My biggest takeaway from the Black Lives Matter bracelet question is that he’s no longer wearing a band that says CECFTM.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. As AA’s Parker is intent on deepening the echo chamber he works within to ignore customer experience., it should be no surprise how he embraces BLM, despite its expressly stated origin and commitment to Communism.. i

    Ironically, what it has taken to make things right has been to be focused upon fair employment and equal pay.

  2. Amaranayaka and Rockamore are not net-new African American additions to the VP team. 2 black VPs exited AA in the last 90 days- Nisha Strand Butler (VP Benefits) and Cornelius Boone (VP HR).

  3. Doug Parker has demonstrated over the years that he is not a good person. He only cares about money and this is just PR.

  4. It’s tough to reconcile Parker being such an apparently warm good-hearted person in private with being such a colossal train wreck of a CEO for anything larger than a regional airline. If American’s Board wasn’t such a pack of inept bunglers, they would emplace Parker as head of AA charities or social awareness or something similar that would both play to his strengths and remove his ineptitude from the CEO’s office. The fact that The Board won’t make such an obvious move speaks ill of their own ability.

  5. Whatever happened to the best man for the job, Not the best white or black man, but the best man….sad where were going.

  6. What a know nothing, he should be wearing patriotic wristbands like Proud Boys, Nazis, Confederates, and KKK.

  7. Fun times when race divides people and corporate figureheads play the virtue card. It’s so transparent.

  8. Gary, do you ever look at the comments on your blog and do some introspection? If the comments you’re getting are from people who are clearly racist, do you think that says anything about your writing? I’ve never been a big fan of your politics, but I’ve mostly seen it as a difference of opinion. That has changed over the past year, however.

    As an epidemiologist, I have been disappointed and disturbed by your reporting on COVID, and your refusal to engage with me and others who are clearly more knowledgeable about infectious disease transmission and policy than you are.

    Now, you have a post like this, which is only tangentially related to travel news, just so you can inflame your readers with race-baiting and SJW talk.

    I know I’m partly to blame for clicking the link and posting, driving up traffic and revenue for your site, but this is the end of the line. I am removing your blog from my RSS feed (although I’ll probably come check on this page at least once more to see if you’ve responded to this, and if so, what excuse you’ve come up with to defend this post).

  9. Between Flight 1, Flight 191, Flight 1420, Flight 587, and various US Air, Piedmont, PSA, and TWA incidents, AA has been responsible for more deaths than police brutality.

  10. Hmm more articles veering mainly into the political realm rather than having anything substantial to do with travel. What a shock.

  11. I agree with most posters here. This post adds nothing, zero, nada to the travel community your blog supposedly serves. Nothing wrong with taking a day off when you have nothing useful to add. I too am moving on to more insightful and focused travel blogs.

  12. I can tell by the posters comments . PLEASE bring back Regulation and raise ticket prices !!!

  13. I call it pandering to the most spoiled group of Africans in the world. Come take a look at what has happened to my childhood neighborhood, Parker.

  14. Why should this surprise anyone? He’s been totally onboard with and peddling this BLM glorification ever since they reared their radical heads. His stewardship of a once great airline has turned it into modern day USAir II with a good dose of People’ Express now being thown in. His only “legacy” will be his pandering to the social radical movement trying to destroy the county and shaking down the taxpayers for billions of dollars to cover up his grossly inept management record devoid of any major positive accomplishments.

  15. A wristband? Really Mr Leff? This is a non issue and should have been a non article. I understand that the travel industry has hit a swift halt but there is literally no excuse for this kind of nonsense reporting.

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