Three Black men have filed a lawsuit against American Airlines, claiming they were unjustly removed from a flight after a crew member accused them of having body odour.

According to NBCDFW, the incident occurred in January on Flight 832 from Phoenix Airport to New York JFK. The men, who did not know each other, were seated in different parts of the plane when a white male flight attendant allegedly complained about “offensive body odour.”

The passengers were removed from the aircraft but were asked to re-board after an hour of searching for alternative flights. The lawsuit alleges they had to endure the stares of largely white passengers who blamed them for the delay.

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The men describe the experience as traumatic and humiliating. Emmanuel Jean Joseph, one of the men involved, shared his distress: “As soon as I got on that plane, a sea of white faces were going to be looking at me and blaming me for their late flight of an hour.”

The legal action highlights the emotional toll and degradation they suffered, calling attention to the broader issues of racial discrimination in air travel.