Earlier this month, British Airways had a flight that included an all-Black crew. The historic flight took part during Black History Month (which is celebrated in February in the U.S. and Canada, but is typically celebrated in the UK [and Holland and Ireland] in October. Germany celebrates BHM too, but the celebration varies from year to year).
The flight was between Barbados and London Heathrow. And instead of just having Black pilots and cabin crew, every person involved in getting the plane off the ground was Black; ground crew, gate team, dispatcher, you name it.
British Airways First Ever All Black crew flight BA255 to Barbados.
This included the flight crew, onboard crew, ground staff, gate team and the dispatcher.
A very monumental day in BA’s history. So grateful to have been apart of this. #WeMadeHistory #BlackHistory
— KING Pip (@__Epiphanyy) February 10, 2023
Personally, I think representation is an important thing. And unfortunately, People of Color are vastly under-represented in the airline industry, especially in the occupations of pilots (less than 2%) and flight attendants (10.2%). Any time a marginalized group is allowed to soar, even as a planned event during a time devoted to focusing on that group, is a time for celebration. But especially now, when airlines are actively reaching out to get more Black people (especially Black women!) into skilled roles such as pilots, having an all-Black crew is significant.
Unfortunately, some cretins of the world used the event as an excuse to spew their prejudices. For every news outlet that celebrated this flight, there were those who minimalized the occasion, (purposely?) missed the point, or were just plain ugly by letting their bigotry fly. Some quotes from Twitter (I’ll keep them anonymous):
- Tokenism pushed to its very limits…
- So BA are saying they got loads of black people to serve white passengers….? Oops!
- We had mixed crews for years & black airline staff.. Even on my airbase.. So why are they making it about skin colour now is pathetic.
- Wow big deal…! This happens every day somewhere on the planet and has happened for decades! Stop this woke bulls***! Remember everything woke is broke…
- Stupid idea to have only a black crew. Respect people wishing to celebrate black history month but this is ridiculous. Were any white people or any other race allowed on the flight to Barbados or was it only a black people flight.
- So, publicly celebrating an all black crew is not rasist ?!
- Statistically, an *ALL*-black crew would be of extremely low probability if you use the world population as a reference. Where did you study statistics?
- Air New Zealand gotta step up their game, how about an all black/African crew singing & conducting an all te reo Maori flight
- Statistically this makes no sense since blacks are only 3% of the British population. It takes diversity quotas aka racism to stack a crew all one color like this. Worshipping black people for virtue signaling points is disgusting and vulgar.
- British airways celebrates first all black crew including ground staff and gate team…imagine an airline celebrating an all white crew…how would the world receive that…the double standards is shocking. Whatever happened to offering someone a job based upon skills and their qualifications… are we giving out jobs based on skin colour now and simply to make a quirky headline.
- Why does the diversity have to be at the “Top” ??? Hell, most of the airlines general workforce is now black brown gay or all of the above. When is the last time you saw an all female white FA crew in America? That all could fit down the aisle??
- If I get on a plane and the words “diversity” or “all female crew” or “all black crew” come over the intercom I’m getting off the plane and booking with a racist airline that hires people based off of how well they can fly.
The airlines don’t go far enough. They must let every passenger choose his captain and crew not by race alone but also nationality. Next time I fly, I insist on a black captain from Nigeria, black co-pilot from Zimbabwe, and ebony stewies from every sub-Saharan country.
Despite those who used the event as an opportunity to spew their hate for people who aren’t just like them, the flight was considered to be a huge success and went into history with some other important flights:
- Aviation history as SAA all black women cockpit crew fly from Johannesburg to Cape Town (October, 2022)
- All-Black women crew operates American Airlines flight from Dallas in honor of trailblazer Bessie Coleman (August, 2022)
- Trailblazer: Haiti-born pilot commands Air Canada’s historic all-Black flight crew (March, 2022)
- All-Black flight crew commemorates Juneteenth (June, 2021)
- First African-American, all female flight crew (February, 2009)
Feature Image: Twitter
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Ah, gotta love the hate mongers.
Have you noticed that they use term woke in a pejorative manner whenever there’s an idea that represents progress but they can’t think of any actual reasons to oppose the idea? “That’s a good idea, so I oppose it. Now how do I argue against such a patently good thing? Eureka! I’ll call it woke.”
You dismiss the commenters as bigots and racists without addressing their arguments. This is unfortunately all too common and is a major reason why the country is as divided as it is. There can be no reasonable discussion or debate. Instead of engaging, just do a quick ad hominem attack and move on…
My take on this was BA can do what it wants, but it does come off more as a contrived publicity stunt than an honest homage to the history of black people in British aviation. I suppose that makes me a racist in your world. You should know that overuse and misapplication of such a serious charge is a disservice to those who experience true racism by providing cover and obfuscation for real racists out there…
Wes, I have no question in my mind that it was a publicity stunt, the same as when they did that thing for Father’s Day several years back. That being said, giving a nod to Black History Month was still a sweet thing to do and more than what most other companies did during the month of February. Could they have done more? Something more substantial? Absolutely. But it was certainly better than nothing.