Thursday, February 08, 2001

Delta fined over wheelchair

The Associated Press

        WASHINGTON — Delta Air Lines was fined $25,000 for failing to store a customer's wheelchair in the passenger compartment, as required by law, the Transportation Department said Wednesday.

        The airline also promised to avoid similar violations in the future, the department said.

        The department said the airline will be permitted to use $10,000 of the civil penalty to purchase new hydraulic-lift boarding chairs.

        Under department rules, collapsible wheelchairs are required to be stored in the passenger compartment if possible.

        The case stems from a complaint filed by a passenger who boarded a Delta flight at New York's LaGuardia Airport last March. The wheelchair was stowed in the cargo hold, where it was damaged, the passenger said.

        Delta contended that the incident was a result of a misunderstanding of the passenger's wishes. But the department acted after concluding that the carrier did violate the law and, while reviewing the case, learned of similar incidents involving wheelchair stowage on Delta flights.


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