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United Airlines Disability Complaints Treble In January 2014

UALDisability related complaints filed against United Airlines in January 2014 trebled compared to the same period of 2013, the latest DOT consumer report shows.


The air travel consumer report of January 2014 paints a bleak picture on how airlines are assisting passengers with disabilities. The report shows 64 disability related complaints were filed with the DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection office against US carriers in January 2014, up nearly 30% from 49 in January 2013. 


United is the biggest offender in January 2014 with 22 complaints, up from 7 of January 2013. The Air Travel Consumer Report shows a total of 110 disability related complaints were filed against the airline in 2013, making United Airlines the top offender among US air carriers for the period.


American Airlines and US Airways dropped from 21 complaints in January 2013 to 14 in 2014. In November 2013 the U.S. DOT fined US Airways $1.2 million for failing to provide adequate wheelchair assistance to passengers with disabilities. The Aviation Enforcement Office found that US Airways committed a significant number of violations of the requirements for wheelchair assistance during 2011 and 2012 at Philadelphia International Airport and Charlotte Douglas International Airport.   


Low cost Southwest Airlines halved disability related complaints from four in 2013 to two in 2014. However, budget airline Allegiant Air disabled passengers’ complaints more than doubled, from two to five in the same period.


Complaints filed against foreign carriers are up 100% year on year, 12 in January 2014 compared to six in 2013. British Airways is January’s 2014 biggest offender among International airlines with four disability complaints, up from two in 2013.


“All air travellers deserve to be treated equally and with respect, and this includes persons in wheelchairs and other passengers with disabilities,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.  “We will continue to make sure that airlines comply with our rules and treat their passengers fairly.”



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