Flight attendant unknowingly has candid conversation on race with different airline’s CEO

A Southwest Airlines flight attendant said she started crying after discussing a book about race relations in the U.S. with a passenger on a recent flight who later revealed himself to be American Airlines CEO Doug Parker. 

The flight attendant, JacqueRae Hill, shared her interaction with Parker in a Facebook post Saturday. 

Hill, who is black, said she went to work with a heavy heart, in light of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests, and noticed a white passenger boarding her first flight of the day holding a book titled “White Fragility.” 

She went back during the flight to ask the passenger, who later identified himself as Parker, about the book.

Parker said the book “points out how important these conversations on race are,” according to Hill. 

“As I began to respond the tears just start falling. I have been so sad every day and I just want to understand and be understood so we can [begin] to fix it,” she wrote. 

Hill said she thinks she “startled” Parker by “dumping” her emotions on him, but she said he replied with an apology. 

“It’s our fault that this is like this,” the American Airlines CEO told her, according to Hill’s post recounting the conversation.

Only after he asked her name and she responded did Parker identify himself. Hill said her mother works for American Airlines in Washington, D.C. 

Hill also shared an image of a letter Parker handed her, thanking her for coming back to speak to him. 

“I am saddened that we as a society have progressed so slowly on an issue that has such a clear right vs. wrong,” he wrote. 

Parker later told American Airlines executives in an email that he “felt wholly inadequate” but “knew it was a special moment,” ABC News reported.

“The best I could do was tell her that the book talks about how white people are horrible at talking about racism, and that what we need are real conversations,” Parker reportedly wrote. “She agreed. I told her I was trying to learn and through tears and a mask, she said, ‘So am I.’ “

He said he was on the flight because he needed to get to Panama City, Fla., and all of American’s seats were sold out, ABC reported.

Tags American Airlines Doug Parker George Floyd JacqueRae Hill race relations southwest airlines
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