Monday, May 2, 2016

For failing to respond to disability complaints adequately DOT, USA fines Air France, Lufthansa & British Airways

Taking stringent enforcement action against some major airliners for consistently failing to provide dispositive responses to the complaints of passengers with disabilities, the Department of Transportation (DOT) on 14 April 2016 fined Air France, Lufthansa, and British Airways among others.

Air France and Lufthansa were each fined $200,000 and British Airways was fined $150,000.  The airlines were also ordered to cease and desist from future similar violations.

The US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “When air travelers file complaints with airlines, they deserve prompt and complete responses that appropriately answer their specific concerns. We will continue to take enforcement action when airlines violate our rules protecting the rights of passengers”.

It may be pertinent to note that the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) prohibits airlines from discriminating against individuals with disabilities.  Under DOT rules, airlines are required to provide a written dispositive response to a written complaint alleging a violation of the ACAA within 30 days of receipt of the complaint. 

These consent orders are the results of several on-site regulatory compliance inspections conducted by the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings.  During these inspections, the Department reviewed a number of disability-related complaint files and found that, in many occasions, Air France, Lufthansa, and British Airways failed to provide dispositive responses to passenger complaints.  

Access the Consent Orders on website, with Docket number DOT-OST-2016-0002. 

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