Skip to content

American Airlines and Discrimination

So, people are telling me that this is a first world problem and I don’t think so.

On my flight through L.A. today from Toronto, I upgraded to business class since the upgrade was the same price as my overweight luggage!  I’d at least get the wider seat and access to the lounge on the 4 hour layover.

So I arrived in L.A. and took the bus to gates 44A to L in an execrable terminal with vending machines and one small food vendor.  Anyway, I thought I’d have a better seat in the lounge and free coffee but NO.

Despite my business class ticket I don’t qualify for lounge access.  Why? Here’s the quote:

“We don’t let any Canadians or Mexicans in the lounge.  That’s our policy.”

I told them that was an amazingly discriminatory policy and left.

I steamed outside and went back and asked what class of ticket did allow Canadians or Mexicans in their lounge. They said ‘None”.  I suppose basing it on national origin helps guard them against charges of racism, etc.

So there it is.  Systemic discrimination and appalling customer service.

I find it more interesting that several people responded to my tweet that:

1. I was being elitist.  My response is that asking to receive what I had paid for is not elitist just sane.

2. This is a first world problem.  Amazing! It was probably tongue in cheek. I am privileged to live in the so-called first world. That doesn’t exempt first world businesses from laws against discriminating against people based on their national origin.

3. I should just suck it up and that the issue of discrimination based on national origin, race, language, creed, gender, orientation isn’t my issue.  Really? Really! An appalling point of view that possibly thinks that only those minorities or others directly affected by discrimination can comment or work to correct the inequity.

I disagree as respectfully as I can to these points of view.

It is everyone’s responsibility to call out discrimination.  And to write a letter. And to sue when necessary.  Rolling over and playing dead because that’s the way things are and you’re privileged so you should ignore it is not what I believe.

American Airlines will get a letter.  It’s unlawful and unconstitutional to discriminate on the basis of national origin (and race, language, creed, gender, orientation) in Canada.  They sold me a ticket in Canada and should try to obey the law.  I shouldn’t have to listen to AA employees halfway through my trip on their airline tell me in public that they do not admit Canadians or Mexicans (although they’ll sell them the ticket without all the privileges they give to tickets from the U.S.

However since letters are slow and poorly responded to in my experience I am posting this to my blog, tweeting it, and adding it to my Facebook, etc.  Some airlines monitor this social media stuff and respond quickly.  We’ll see.

On the optimistic side, I am always looking for cautionary stories about customer service and policies for my speeches, workshops and keynotes.  I got a new one!


Posted on: October 25, 2014, 5:36 pm Category: Uncategorized

New Report Shares Global Practices for Competency-Based Ed

New Report Shares Global Practices for Competency-Based Ed

“Finland chooses its teachers from the top 10 percent of high school graduates and requires them to attain a research-based master’s degree at state expense.

Swedish students learn according to clearly articulated national standards, and can break down and express the standards for each week, such as, “During this week my goal will be to understand and be able to…” Assessments are structured as presentations.

Teachers in New Zealand, who have a great deal of autonomy, participate in curriculum co-development, establishing student assessment methods and ensuring fairness in grading.

Those are a few of the international aspects of delivering competency-based education around the world as outlined in a new report published byCompetencyWorks. CompetencyWorks is a collaborative project that pulls together multiple organizations, including the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices to advance competency education as a replacement for “seat-time” schooling. A competency education is personalized, can take place anytime and anywhere and gives students ownership over their learning.

An International Study in Competency Education: Postcards from Abroad” offers “snapshot” summaries of competency education as it’s practiced in Finland, British Columbia, New Zealand and Scotland, with references to activities in other countries as well.

Authors Sara Frank Bristow, founder of Salient Research, and Susan Patrick, president and CEO of iNACOL, identified six characteristics of competency-based education that tend to surface among all practitioners around the world:

  • A transition towards learner-centered, personalized learning pathways;
  • A shift towards national core curricula with clearly identified learning standards;
  • The use of teacher-led, classroom-based assessment; (a particular favorite is the internationally benchmarked Cambridge Assessment, offered by a not-for-profit organization);
  • A concern for student well-being, both physical and emotional;
  • Redesigned learning spaces that place students face to face; and
  • A global outlook to identify pockets of innovation.

“Almost without exception, education leaders across major world economies share the same goals: to improve student performance and increase equitable outcomes,” said Patrick. “As the economy becomes increasingly globalized, nations are increasingly interconnected. Other countries are studying our innovations. We must also study theirs to ensure we aim to provide a world-class education for each and every student.”

The free 36-page report in PDF form is available for download from the CompetencyWorks site.”


Posted on: October 25, 2014, 6:59 am Category: Uncategorized

REVEALED: The Demographic Trends For Every Social Network

REVEALED: The Demographic Trends For Every Social Network

Read more:

Facebook Users Pew

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the BI Intelligence report:

Read more:


Posted on: October 25, 2014, 6:44 am Category: Uncategorized

5 Great Online Tools for Creating Infographics

5 Great Online Tools for Creating Infographics

1) Visme (

2) Canva (

3) (

4) Piktochart (

5) (

More details by following the link.


Posted on: October 25, 2014, 6:12 am Category: Uncategorized

Infographic: Unusual Work Habits of Great Writers

Infographic: Unusual Work Habits of Great Writers

Unusual Work Habits of Great Writers


Posted on: October 24, 2014, 7:07 am Category: Uncategorized

Friday Fun: Little-Known Punctuation Marks

Little-Known Punctuation Marks


Posted on: October 24, 2014, 7:03 am Category: Uncategorized

The Aroma of Books: INFOGRAPHIC

The Aroma of Books: INFOGRAPHIC

Aroma of Books


Posted on: October 24, 2014, 6:04 am Category: Uncategorized