Airline carrier fined for poor disability services

This graphic is of the universal access symbol
Airline Fined

The U.S. Department of Transportation knocked Atlantic Southeast Airlines with a $200,000 civil penalty July 11 for a number of violations relating to its assistance for passengers with wheelchairs.

The department’s Aviation Enforcement Office conducted a review of the airline’s Atlanta offices in June 2010. The violations stemmed from complaints received between January 2009 and May 2010.

“Passengers with disabilities have rights and they have a right to be treated fairly and with respect by the airlines,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a news release. “We will continue to take enforcement action when our disability rules are violated.”

The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 requires airlines to assist passengers with disabilities with boarding airlines through the “use of wheelchairs, ramps, mechanical lifts or service personnel when needed.”

Of the $200,000 penalty, $35,000 can be used to “relocate passenger lifts” and $40,000 can be used to conduct audits and surveys to monitor the airline’s disability services.