AirTran Fined For Wheelchair Violations
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 9, 2003
WASHINGTON, DC--The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that it had reached a settlement with AirTran Holdings Inc, which was sued for discriminating against passengers who use wheelchairs.
The airline was assessed $125,000 for violating the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and other federal regulations by failing to provide a place to stow standard-size folding wheelchairs inside their airplanes' cabins. AirTran may use $105,000 of the penalty to improve services for passengers with disabilities.
According to the Associated Press, the DOT began investigating AirTran last year after a passenger complained that airline personnel told him there was no space to store his wheelchair in a Boeing 717.
In August of this year, the department fined America West Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines a total of $750,000 for many of the same violations. Most of the fines, however, were credited back to the airlines for them to use in order to comply with federal law.
ACAA regulations require aircraft with 100 or more passenger seats, which were ordered after April 5, 1990 or delivered after April 5, 1992, to have space in the cabin designated to stow at least one passenger's folding wheelchair.