An American Airlines flight attendant wore a Black Lives Matter button. A meltdown ensued.

The American Airlines Facebook page has become the site of a heated debate this week over the issue of whether one of the company's flight attendants should be allowed to wear a button supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

A woman posted a photo to the American Airlines photo on Tuesday appearing to show an American Airlines flight attendant assisting a passenger. The flight attendant is wearing a large button that says "Black Lives Matter." The woman's single-word caption: "Disgraceful."

This screenshot has been edited to conceal the identities of the Facebook users and the flight attendant.
Screen shot

We know almost nothing else about this photo or the situation it was taken in, and the caption on it would seem to indicate it wasn't taken by the woman who posted it. We reached out to her for clarification and will update if we receive a response.

Her post certainly caught the attention of many Facebook users, with more than 2,000 comments on the photo so far, the majority of which seemed to disagree with the idea that the photo was "disgraceful."


Among those commenters was the verified American Airlines account, which responded to the photo and appeared to take the complaint(?) seriously.


This looks like a standard social media brand response, splitting the difference between appearing to take action and not actually taking action. It's a little troubling that the company would take someone complaining about something as innocuous as a button seriously. But it does raise the question of whether or not this violates the company's uniform standards.

An American Airlines brochure titled "Flight Attendant Image Standards," which is dated from September 2011 and posted on a flight attendant labor group's website, appears to say that buttons are out, but pins are fine.


When is a thing a button and when is it a pin? It's hard to say. But it's seemingly up to American Airlines to decide that question. The entire question might be completely moot, as American Airlines is in the process of switching to new uniforms for crew members and the button-pin debate might no longer apply. We don't have the standards for those uniforms, but photos American Airlines released of the new outfits are noticeably absent of all flair outside nametags (which, are nametags buttons or are they pins? What is the meaning of any word?).


We've reached out to American Airlines to clarify what their current standards are and whether or not they took any action over this photo.


In the meantime, if you see a flight attendant wearing some flair you don't care for, please leave them be. They put up with enough without worrying about people reporting their buttons on Facebook.

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