Airline fined for poor treatment of disabled passenger

by nph | April 20th, 2012

April 20, 2012

A 24-year-old quadriplegic man, who was not allowed to fly on Frontier Airlines last summer, took his case to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). This week the USDOT fined Frontier Airlines $50,000 for its action, according to Coloradoan.com.

After the man and his mother boarded the airplane in Dallas headed for Denver, the pilot ordered the young man off the plane because he thought the man was a safety risk to the other passengers.

Flight attendants refused to let the man use seat belt extensions, which are usually used to secure exceptionally large passengers, to keep himself upright. Even though the method is not approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, the man had used extensions on previous flights, including the trip on Frontier that had gotten him to Dallas.

He was removed from the plane by baggage handlers, who were not properly trained to deal with people who use wheelchairs. He fell on to a seated passenger, and his hand got caught between seats.

“The whole thing was really embarrassing. I see this as a win for everyone who is disabled and for the whole wheelchair community,” the Colorado State University student said. “Hopefully, no one else will have to go through what I did.”

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If you are someone you know has had his or her safety compromised on an airline, the aviation accident attorneys at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy may be able to help.