Airline Carrier Access Act, are supposed to be extended to the disabled public whe flying aboard nearly all airlines. But what is supposed to be and what actually happens are often quite different. In what is just one of the latest stories about the truly awful nature of airline travel these days, a partially paralyzed Maui man who claimed airline workers forced him to crawl on and off flights in 2012 has settled his lawsuit brought against Delta Air Lines. The terms of the settlement are confidential, as is increasingly the case when the defendant corporation hopes to paper over their intransigence. The lawsuit accused Delta of negligence and of noncompliance with established disability rights rules under the Airline Carrier Access Act, because the airline didn’t provide an aisle seat, a lift to get him up and down the stairs, or any assistance to get him from the plane to his wheelchair. He had called the airline to arrange for help before both flights, the lawsuit said, and both times, the airline assured him that he would be accommodated. Yet even after he went through the initial humiliation and pain of the outbound leg of his trip, when he arrived for the return flight, the airline offered him a piece of cardboard to permit him to crawl across the tarmac without ruining his clothes, while the flight crew merely stood watching him.
Between increasingly humiliating security requirements, terrible or no food service on flights, absurd wait times and unexplained cancellations, lost luggage, near-criminal customer service debacles, and a general attitude by the air carriers toward their customers that borders on contempt, a story such as this is almost par for the course. Which makes it, of course, that much worse. The Airline Carrier Access Act, which helps enshrine most of the rules already in place through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to cover loopholes that had existed for the airlines, is still often completely ignored by some of the biggest carriers out there. The Act requires that airlines make special efforts to permit reasonable access to and on airplanes for disabled individuals, going so far as to directly state what is required. Consumers should go to https://www.dot.gov/airconsumer to get the most up-to-date information on the requirements, means of filing a formal complaint, and to learn what avenues are available to fight back at discriminatory practices.
The Cartwright Law Firm has handles a number of cases related to discriminatory practices toward disabled passengers over the years, especially following reasonable attempts on the part of the consumer to address the issues through the channels provided by both the FAA and the airlines themselves. When all of these “normal” approaches fail to provide reasonable relief and recompense, we stand ready to fight on the behalf of the consumer who has suffered real harm by clearly illegal practices by the air carriers. If you or one of your loved ones has experienced discrimination by an airline due to your disability, contact us today for a free consultation. You have a right to be treated with the same respect an able-bodied passenger expects, and you don’t have to merely take whatever the airlines decide to dish out.