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Thread: 3 Airlines Fined for Poor Disabled Access

  1. #1

    3 Airlines Fined for Poor Disabled Access

    Courtesy of Walter:

    3 Airlines Fined for Poor Disabled Access

    .c The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The government fined three airlines a total of $750,000 because they couldn't stow folding wheelchairs inside aircraft cabins, but gave back most of the money so they could improve access for the disabled.

    America West Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines violated regulations banning discrimination against disabled passengers, the Transportation Department announced Thursday.

    Other airlines are being investigated for similar violations.

    America West spokeswoman Janice Monahan said the airline believes it complied with the law. The airline checked the passenger's personal wheelchair at the gate and then used another wheelchair to seat the passenger on the plane.

    America West was fined $150,000 but received a credit of $135,000 so it could create the stowage space.

    Southwest spokeswoman Linda Rutherford said folding wheelchairs couldn't fit into the overhead storage bins on the airline's Boeing 737s. The airline stored wheelchairs in the cargo hold and quickly brought them to the gate after the jetliner landed, she said. Now the airline is retrofitting the overhead bins over the next 14 months. The cost is being partially defrayed by the $450,000 credit on the $500,000 fine.

    A call to JetBlue seeking comment was not immediately returned. The Transportation Department statement said the airline will use $90,000 of its $100,000 fine to create and a toll-free disability hot line and a quality assurance team to learn more about providing service to passengers with disabilities.

    On the Net:

    Transportation Department: http://www.dot.gov

  2. #2
    I recently flew 'America West', this was my first time EVER flyng. With much dvice from the ppl here at CC, my fight 'experience was very good. The ppl from 'AMWEST' were completely accomodating and cooperative with me, ''they couldn't do enough for me.'' From the gate check, to boarding, to flying; the flight crew were very good to my every request.

  3. #3
    Senior Member martha's Avatar
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    Southwest spokeswoman Linda Rutherford said folding wheelchairs couldn't fit into the overhead storage bins on the airline's Boeing 737s...... Now the airline is retrofitting the overhead bins over the next 14 months.
    Either once again I'm missing something or there must be w/c's that fold a lot smaller than Julian's TiLite because I can't imagine an overhead bin large enough for it. Then there are the wheels to consider. This seems ridiculous for overhead storage. No offense to Southwest -- I love the airline.

  4. #4
    Junior Member remo1023's Avatar
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    My wife, my service dog and I recently flew South West Air to Orlando on a 737 I have to agree it would have to be a very small folding chair to fit in the overhead compartments the back wheels would never fit. As far as my flights went, South West was great I use a powerchair with Gel Batteries. I gate checked my chair and stayed in it to the planes door where the staff was patient with me as I explained the workings of the chair, the best way for me to be transferred to the aislechair and then to my seat. They were equally as patient as my wife removed everything that could be removed from my chair and placed the parts in a carry on. They even escorted my wife and my service dog outside to provide my service dog an extra opportunity to relieve himself. When I reached my destinations my chair met me at the plane with no problems or damage. So Thumbs up to South west they went the extra mile in my opinon in handling my situation. I will definately fly South West in the future. Remo

  5. #5
    I travel quite often, they are long flights.... I have to say that Turkish Airlines is really great, and I had lots of problems with Delta Airlines...

    Age: 23, Male, T-6, Student

  6. #6
    I've flown w/ America West as well. All in all things went fine, although it would've been smoother if I didn't have to explain details to the staff who *thought* they knew what they were doing. Only one lady knew her stuff very well. Go figure, equal opportunity employers hiring stupid people.

    the only glitch was a piece of my brake extension falling off somewhere in transit. No big deal.

    I hear JetBlue has DirectTV though... there's a perk!

    ______________
    'everything will be okay in the end; if it's not okay, it's not the end.'

  7. #7
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    Tahiti

    Flying to Tahiti with power chair and boarding Princess Cruise for 7 day cruise. Flying from LA. Has anyone flew on Air Tahiti Nui? It's a 7 hour flight from here. Flew once before on United. They didn't have a clue how to put power chair back together. From my experience - all you need to do is take the batteries out, before loading in baggage department. I don't understand how anyone could get a wheelchair in the overheads? You must use an aisle chair to get on the plane. This flight is suppose to be a chartered flight.
    Anyone have an advice - email me at btheing@juno.com. We have a handicapped room reserved. It's a mini suite with a balcony on Pacific Princess.

  8. #8
    Countrygirl, the batteries do NOT need to be removed if they are gel batteries, only if they are wet-cells. Be sure they are well marked like this. Get someone to help you put the sign in both English and French since you are going to Tahiti. DO NOT let the airlines either disassemble or put together your chair without you directing them and supervising them. Always test the chair before you let them leave you when re-assembling.

    Some small manual chairs will fit in either the overhead or in the compartment designed for wheelchairs (which is usually, illegally, full of the flight attendants' luggage). Obviously this is not true for power chairs.

    How are you getting from the airport to the ship? Has Princess arranged transport other than a tour bus for you for this? This is critical...check on it right away.

    Get to the airport very early as it is likely the airlines will have to change your seat to get one with lift-up armrests on the aisle. The charter flights generally have no info about any special needs, even if you discussed these many times already with Princess. You will have to be calm, but very assertive to get the right seat, the chair loaded corrected, and the aisle chair use arranged.

    We go on our next cruise in November, but it is round trip out of LA (Vision of the Seas) so no flying involved (yahoo!!!!). I have booked an accessible tour for us in Puerto Vallarta on-line. Will report back when we return.

    (KLD)

  9. #9
    HI.
    I am a therapist working w/ a quad who is flying to Atlanta to go to Shepard's day program. I was just wondering how he should store the "wet battery" for his power chair if it is to be removed for the flight. Alao, do you have any other advise for him I could give him for his travels?

  10. #10
    Originally posted by CEMOT:

    HI.
    I am a therapist working w/ a quad who is flying to Atlanta to go to Shepard's day program. I was just wondering how he should store the "wet battery" for his power chair if it is to be removed for the flight. Alao, do you have any other advise for him I could give him for his travels?
    the airlines will remove and pack his battery. he needs to give them 48 hours notice and arrive 2 hours prior to flight. you should also call airlines 48 hours prior to flight to confirm access requests and for any special instructions. The general feeling is that if you have gel cells it is better becasue you don't want the airlines mesing with your chair. GEll cels don't have to be removed. Advice?? http://www.EmergingHorizons.com/book

    Candy Harrington
    Emerging Horizons
    www.EmergingHorizons.com

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