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US Unfairly Taking Beating - Re: Disabled Traveler  
User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13547 posts, RR: 62
Posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7887 times:
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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/39686956#39686956

While the US agent shouldn't have boarded this customer without a companion in the first place, the customer - and the media - are overreacting, here. He's clearly unable to aid in his own evacuation from the aircraft and needs to have a companion accompany him.

For someone who claims to be a "disability advocate" he sure is uninformed - the ADA doesn't cover commercial air travel, that's under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), and this was definitely not a violation of his rights.


"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
56 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineatrude777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5692 posts, RR: 52
Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7833 times:

Oh the irony here MSNBC...

I cannot even view your video because this video is not subtitled for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. As a Deaf user on airliners.net...I have no idea what is going on with this story.

Alex



Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13547 posts, RR: 62
Reply 2, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 7695 times:
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Cliff's Notes version:

  • wheelchair-bound customer tries to board US flight

  • gate agent helps him get to his seat

  • moments later, same gate agent asks customer to deplane since he doesn't have a traveling companion

  • customer calls the media, throws uninformed hissyfit


  • As the customer was physically unable to aid in his own evacuation, the agent was correct to insist that he cannot travel without a companion, however it should have been addressed well before he was allowed to board. The customer is incorrect to state US violated the ADA and/or that his civil rights were violated.



    "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
    User currently offlineNorthstarBoy From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1825 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 3, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 7512 times:
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    In a way this reminds me of a story I was told during a college inflight services class, the gist of it was that a blind man boarded and took his seat, not realizing that it was an exit row. The cabin crew noticed that he was in an exit row and told him he was going to need to change rows, that he couldn't sit in the exit row. The cabin crew even went so far as to solicit a volunteer to change seats with him but the blind passenger refused suggesting he was just as capable of opening the exit as anyone else. The cabin crew insisted that he had to move and the passenger persisted in his belief that he was perfectly capable of opening the exit in the case of an emergency, the more the cabin crew insisted he must move the more belligerent the man became in his refusal to move until it became necessary for security to come onboard and physically remove him from the aircraft kicking and screaming about his capability of opening the exit as well as anyone else.

    I know there's an ongoing thing amongst the disabled community about not allowing themselves to be defined by their limitatations, but sometimes, when the safety of other people are involved, you just need to back down and accept that you're not as capable as you think you are in certain situations. Rather than scream lawsuit and denial of rights, the man should have accepted that Usair was doing what it felt necessary to guarantee the safety of everyone on the plane without placing an undue burden on another passenger who's a complete stranger to ensure he makes it off during an emergency.



    Why are people so against low yields?! If lower yields means more people can travel abroad, i'm all for it
    User currently offlineKGRB From United States of America, joined Sep 2010, 711 posts, RR: 1
    Reply 4, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7460 times:

    The irony is that US has these policies in place to protect themselves from a lawsuit... and protect the very passenger that's suing them. Did the gate agent screw up by letting the man board the plane? Yes, but perhaps he/she wasn't informed of the policy until the man was aboard. It's a minor SNAFU, but certainly not anything for anybody to sue over.

    You would also think that given his position, the passenger would be well versed in the ADA. US is not in any in violation of the ADA and this suit, if he does go ahead with it, will get tossed out as quick as a Brett Favre interception.  

    And by the way, I love stock airline footage in news stories. Check out all the F-100s!   



    Δ D E L T A: Keep Climbing
    User currently offlineexFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
    Reply 5, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7380 times:

    Quoting EA CO AS (Thread starter):
    For someone who claims to be a "disability advocate" he sure is uninformed - the ADA doesn't cover commercial air travel, that's under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), and this was definitely not a violation of his rights.

    I'd like to think he was just anticipating that the audience wouldn't know what the ACAA was and just said "ADA" as shorthand for Federal law. Of course, it'd be easier, and more accurate, to just say "Federal law" in the first place, since any actual suit would be filed citing the regulations (14 CFR Part 382), not the underlying Act of Congress.

    In case anyone's curious, here's the PDF of 14 CFR Part 382, courtesy of United Airlines.

    A lot of handicapped advocates seem to be a little sloppy about this - I looked on the American Diabetic Association's website and it refers to the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, but not the ACAA, even though 14 CFR 382 specifically lists diabetes as a covered disability in 382.5(a)(2).

    One thing that struck me as a little presumptive is his assertion that it's OK for him to travel without a companion since people around him are likely to help him out. While that's true, what if he's on a flight where everyone around him is there with children or elderly relatives? Is he, or are his relatives, going to hold the airline harmless if he dies because there's no good Samaritan around him and the FAs can't get to him in time? And what if the passengers in the window and centre seats are, say, elderly, and can't move him or go over the seatbacks to get out? (I fly to Florida a lot, so these scenarios spring to mind easily). I sympathize with the guy, it's a difficult situation and a burden to have to buy a ticket for a companion, but he seems awfully willing to impose burdens on others.


    User currently offlinetype-rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4975 posts, RR: 19
    Reply 6, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7331 times:

    At the end he is counting on the F/A's to come back and get him in an emergency. He's depending on it. In reality if an emergency arose they may not be able to get to him.


    Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
    User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13547 posts, RR: 62
    Reply 7, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 7252 times:
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    Quoting exFATboy (Reply 5):
    One thing that struck me as a little presumptive is his assertion that it's OK for him to travel without a companion since people around him are likely to help him out. While that's true, what if he's on a flight where everyone around him is there with children or elderly relatives?

      

    My jaw actually dropped at his assertion - "If there's an emergency, are you gonna help me out? Of course you are."

    While I know I'd certainly want to help him and would like to think others would want to as well, if there's an emergency and I'm trying to get my wife and kids out of the aircraft, I'm certainly not going to put his well-being and safety ahead of theirs.

    And that's precisely why the ACAA provisions permit commercial air carriers to require customers unable to assist in their own evacuation to travel with a companion designated to assist them in an emergency.



    "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
    User currently offlineABQopsHP From United States of America, joined May 2006, 848 posts, RR: 3
    Reply 8, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 7001 times:

    Having just finished my training as a CRO (Complaint Resolution Official) for CO, and, CFR 382.29 B states
    You may require a person with a disability in one of the following categories to travel with a safety assistant as a condition of being provided air transportation, if you determine that a safety assistant is essential for safety:
    (3)....
    A person with a mobility impairment so severe that the person is unable to physically assist in his/her own evacuation of a/c;
    (4)....is very long, but basically it states if the customer cannot communicate and assist with their own evacuation you can require an assistant to travel.
    This customer to me appeared more or less able to get himself out of the seat and crawl to the exit, so I would have allowed him to travel. Being a gate agent I have had instances where, after boarding a disabled customer, I have had flight attendants say they would not be helping that pax get out in an emergency. Ok fine, dont, but I will then ask the customer if they will be able to help themselves in an emergency. We dont have the whole story here, but something tells me, that after the customer was boarded, something similar to that happened, or the flight deck crew got involved, in some way, and there you have the gate agent pulling the customer off. I also have a problem, with this customers arrogance in expecting everyone around him to help out just because hes wheelchair bound. Sure I would help someone out that I see needs it, but dont be so presumptuous to think all around you are going to do so.
    If we have any other CRO's on this thread, I would like your input.
    JD CRPXE



    A line is evidence that other people exist.
    User currently offlineCharlieNoble From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 9, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 6941 times:

    Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 3):
    I know there's an ongoing thing amongst the disabled community about not allowing themselves to be defined by their limitatations, but sometimes, when the safety of other people are involved, you just need to back down and accept that you're not as capable as you think you are in certain situations. Rather than scream lawsuit and denial of rights, the man should have accepted that Usair was doing what it felt necessary to guarantee the safety of everyone on the plane without placing an undue burden on another passenger who's a complete stranger to ensure he makes it off during an emergency.

    Amen, but when it's convenient, many of them are more than happy to accept the "privileges" thereunto pertaining, particularly when it comes to parking spots.

    Case in point, the parking garage I put my car in every morning to catch the train:

    1) Deaf lady parking in a handicapped spot. I cannot for the life of me discern the reason for this...only hypothesis I could come up with is that perhaps she's at a greater risk of being struck by another car (wouldn't hear it) if she had to walk down the row instead of parking right up front. I could live with that until I think "If she's not safe walking near cars how can she be safe driving one in traffic?" Completely bogus in my opinion.

    2) Fellow with apparently part of his leg missing. Wouldn't know it though, because at the end of the day I have seen him literally RUN down the steps of the parking garage to hop in his truck and scream out of the garage ahead of everyone else. Again, perfectly legal for him to have the spot but he's no more disabled than I am on any given day when I might have slept wrong and my sciatic nerve is acting up (makes me limp a bit).

    Nice.


    User currently offlinedavescj From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 2305 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 10, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 6915 times:

    Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 7):
    My jaw actually dropped at his assertion - "If there's an emergency, are you gonna help me out? Of course you are."

    While I know I'd certainly want to help him and would like to think others would want to as well, if there's an emergency and I'm trying to get my wife and kids out of the aircraft, I'm certainly not going to put his well-being and safety ahead of theirs.

    And that's precisely why the ACAA provisions permit commercial air carriers to require customers unable to assist in their own evacuation to travel with a companion designated to assist them in an emergency.

    Are you kidding? It will be everyone for himself. As much as I dislike USAirways, I think they made the right call. In an emergency, there is no way an FA could get to him (they'd be evacuating the plane) and clearly the person sitting next to him will care only about getting off.

    I don't think ADA will reach this far. This is not a ramp to get into the building. It is expecting a stranger can/will help you. It is overreach on his part.

    Dave



    Can I have a mojito on this flight?
    User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13547 posts, RR: 62
    Reply 11, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 6845 times:
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    Quoting ABQopsHP (Reply 8):
    If we have any other CRO's on this thread, I would like your input.

    I've been a CRO for several years, and from my perspective this customer would not have been able to aid in his own evacuation. Using only his arms to crawl to the exit would pose a safety risk to other customers needing to evacuate the aircraft.

    I'm guessing the gate agent simply didn't think about the customer's situation and had it brought to their attention by the flight crew. It's surprising that they didn't try to solicit a volunteer to act as his companion in the event of an emergency, however.



    "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
    User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5592 posts, RR: 6
    Reply 12, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 6703 times:

    Quoting exFATboy (Reply 5):
    is his assertion that it's OK for him to travel without a companion since people around him are likely to help him out.
    Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 7):
    "If there's an emergency, are you gonna help me out? Of course you are."

    I really hate to say this, but what a tool. If it came down to it, and I wasn't sure that I could help him in time, he's going to get left behind.

    Quoting davescj (Reply 10):
    I think they made the right call.

    Of course it was the right call.... it's the law, of which this fellow knows nothing about.

    Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 11):


    I'm guessing the gate agent simply didn't think about the customer's situation

    It happens. As you well know, people in wheelchairs fly all the time. Maybe the agent just assumed he had a companion, or was having a busy day and just forgot about the caretaker rule. I wouldn't even blame the guy if that was his beef, that he was being jerked around. But he's obviously in it for the money and the fame.

    Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 11):
    It's surprising that they didn't try to solicit a volunteer to act as his companion in the event of an emergency, however.

    That would completely unprofessional and unacceptable. It's certainly not a position I would volunteer for, as that now puts me legally responsible for a stranger.

    Sorry, ain't ever gonna happen.



    "PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
    User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13547 posts, RR: 62
    Reply 13, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 6545 times:
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    Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 12):
    Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 11):
    It's surprising that they didn't try to solicit a volunteer to act as his companion in the event of an emergency, however.


    That would completely unprofessional and unacceptable.

    Sorry, I should have clarified - CROs regularly solicit volunteers from employees flying as non-revenue travelers.
    The non-rev is entitled to decline, however - they're not obligated to say yes to the request.



    "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
    User currently offlinesilentbob From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2071 posts, RR: 1
    Reply 14, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 6529 times:

    Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 13):
    Sorry, I should have clarified - CROs regularly solicit volunteers from employees flying as non-revenue travelers.
    The non-rev is entitled to decline, however - they're not obligated to say yes to the request.

    Nothing like putting them on the spot. "Do you want to help the handicapped guy or should we throw him off the plane?" I tend to agree with:

    Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 12):
    It's certainly not a position I would volunteer for, as that now puts me legally responsible for a stranger.


    User currently offlinetype-rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4975 posts, RR: 19
    Reply 15, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 6177 times:

    Quoting davescj (Reply 10):
    Are you kidding? It will be everyone for himself.

    Hate to say it but most passengers would be more interested in helping their carry on rollerbags off than this guy during an evacuation. It would definitely be an "every man for himself" situation.

    And if the guy had to crawl to an exit, he's be stomped and trampled on, thereby blocking a path to an exit.

    In reality, the only way he'd be helped off by the F/A's is after they evacuated everyone else off the plane first and they make their final walk thru to check for leftovers, if cabin environmental concerns permit it.



    Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
    User currently offlineltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13073 posts, RR: 12
    Reply 16, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6005 times:

    The video noted that he has made many other flights without a companion and does not travel with one to save money. I suspect that in the past, CSA's and F/A's just didn't want to get into a confrontation that would delay servicing other passengers, delay flights or just didn't want the hassles of confronting him and realising the tiny probability of a need for him to evacuate the a/c.

    User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5592 posts, RR: 6
    Reply 17, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5930 times:

    Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 13):
    CROs regularly solicit volunteers from employees flying as non-revenue travelers.

    Not at US Airways.



    "PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
    User currently offlinethegreatRDU From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2310 posts, RR: 4
    Reply 18, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5710 times:

    I wouldn't want Stephen Hawking in an emergency exit row...


    Our Returning Champion
    User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13547 posts, RR: 62
    Reply 19, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5660 times:
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    Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 17):
    Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 13):
    CROs regularly solicit volunteers from employees flying as non-revenue travelers.

    Not at US Airways.

    Perhaps they should - it could have saved them from bad press. Other carriers do.



    "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
    User currently offlineCharlieNoble From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 20, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5525 times:

    To me this is the classic "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.

    If there was an incident on the ground, and for some reason this person wasn't able to get out in time, or even worse caused death/injury to other people, can you imagine the outcry? Everyone would be coming out of the woodwork with "How could US Airways have let this terrible thing happen? They don't even follow their own rules!".

    Good for them, for having a sensible rule and the integrity to enforce it.

    Sadly, people are in favor of safety and rules as long as they apply to everyone else but them.


    User currently offlineb727fan From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 305 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 21, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5428 times:

    there was a similar incident, this one in Dubai.
    http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/p...-barred-from-dubai-flight/126382/1
    This is a tough issue! On one hand you can side with the airlines as it relates to safety, and on the other, passenger rights not to be discriminated!


    User currently offlinePapaChuck From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 136 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 22, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5292 times:

    I do have some sympathy for the guy. Being bound to a wheelchair is a burden and makes every aspect of aspect of your life more complicated. That being said, I support US Airways for enforcing the rules in this case. If he had in fact flown on several occasions by himself in the past, then the rules were overlooked for whatever reason. The rules just happened to be enforced this time. It's like getting a ticket for speeding in a school zone and refusing to pay the fine because you weren't fined for all the other times you sped through that same school zone. You were caught this time, so deal with the consequences.


    In-trail spacing is a team effort.
    User currently offlinejeffrey1970 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1336 posts, RR: 12
    Reply 23, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 5226 times:

    Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 2):
    As the customer was physically unable to aid in his own evacuation, the agent was correct to insist that he cannot travel without a companion, however it should have been addressed well before he was allowed to board. The customer is incorrect to state US violated the ADA and/or that his civil rights were violated.

    Even if Us airways is technically correct. They will lose this battle in every way that matters. They will continue to take a P.R. beating. Plus, if the man files suite against them they will likely pay a lot of money to him in a settlement. I am not saying that US was wrong. I am saying that it would not be good for them to go to court in this case. Plus, they will also have to clearly state in there policy just what type of handicapped person can fly alone, and who has to have a companion.



    God bless through Jesus, Jeff
    User currently offlineDeltaAVL From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1893 posts, RR: 6
    Reply 24, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4958 times:

    Lovin' the F100 in the foreground in MSNBC's video.  


    "We break, We bend, With hand in hand, When hope is gone, Just hang on." -Guster
    25 KGRB : The man was not discriminated against. It would be discrimination if US refused to serve all handicapped passengers, companion or not. That was not t
    26 jeffrey1970 : You may be right about the legalities. I am no lawyer so I can't say weather they are right or wrong. However it seems to me that if this man does su
    27 Post contains images ikramerica : The cabin crew obviously failed to properly explain that part of the responsibility is to assess the situation outside the door before opening it (fi
    28 silentbob : You put too much faith in lawyers and judges. Someone would take this case, if for no other reason than to try and make a name for themself. Plus, it
    29 ikramerica : I get that. But if the crew told him, RIGHT FROM THE START, that he needs to be able to SEE outside the aircraft before opening the door, as well as
    30 Braniff727Ultra : I think that US Air was and DID act correctly as far as having him removed from the flight; though he shouldn't have been let on in the first place wi
    31 EA CO AS : No they won't, as this is codified in the ACAA under 14 CFR 382.31 (d) that carrier personnel may refuse to provide transportation to any passenger o
    32 cf6ppe : As I read the above thread with the mention of US Air, the Hudson River landing event came to mind. I just wonder how those additional complications w
    33 Post contains images FlyASAGuy2005 : I don't see how him crawling to an exit would be safe for other passengers. The mode in an emergency egress is to get everyone of as safely and exped
    34 Flighty : I'm not a lawyer but I am not sure you are right. Maybe he has no legs. Fine - he has some right to travel, with the airline. He does not need his ow
    35 iairallie : No they don't. And why would someone of a particular race or gender require that?
    36 SkyPriorityDTW : I'm sorry, but I must agree that this statement is hilarious! As with the saying, "If you assume, you will make an ass out of you and me." Airlines,
    37 malaysia : Well the ADA is awesome in some cases in addition to the EEOC, I have received Golden Parachutes instead of usual Severance pay from several Airlines
    38 Maverick623 : I seriously doubt that US is going to lose any customers because of this. Even the Imams from MSP a couple of years ago still regularly fly on them.
    39 exFATboy : Not under current law. The airline has no responsibility to provide a companion - if, in the airline's judgment, the passenger is mobilty-impaired to
    40 Post contains images EA CO AS : This is the area where I've actually had the most discussion with disabled travelers, as they (mistakenly) believe it entitles them to bring a compan
    41 WALmsp : Speaking as a disabled person, I find this "gentleman" to be an embarrassment. It is unfortunate that too many disabled people have turned the ADA int
    42 silentbob : I've seen a conversation where deaf people insist they can be in the exit row because they can read lips. Some people are selfish, able or disabled,
    43 ikramerica : I'd be more comfortable with a deaf person than a blind person in that row. To some degree, the deaf person would be better able to ignore the scream
    44 Flighty : Suddenly a business is a charity if it obeys some very strong regulations such as ADA? But, if the law is not clear enough, I agree US is not breakin
    45 EA CO AS : Exactly - ALL the passengers. Being burdened with the physical evacuation of one customer keeps them from being able to lead the rest of them to safe
    46 ikramerica : ADA doesn't apply. Why do people keep bringing it up?
    47 Flighty : The ADA has some civil rights implications that can hook into other civil rights laws. That was why I mention race and gender in the same breath. One
    48 Maverick623 : I'm confused: US clearly followed the ACAA to the letter, any yet you're accusing them of not? How does that work? You do realize there are varying d
    49 Flighty : Irrelevant. Patently ridiculous. And, I'm done here.
    50 KGRB : ...Which have nothing to do with evacuating an aircraft.... unless one is a racist or sexist. Even if they only happened once a *decade*, it wouldn't
    51 malaysia : Well my general experience as a CRO was pretty much to never assume a disability or ask if assistance is needed. treat all passengers equal and if th
    52 anonms : Why must the airline provide such a service? An airline is not a public accommodation, it's a private service. Flight is not a right.
    53 Maverick623 : I fail to see how the ego of one person outweighs the safety of 149 others, but whatever. I wonder what you think a court would say about that.... be
    54 Post contains images EA CO AS : Carriers voluntarily report this information to the DOT, however the ACAA only requires airlines to send a written explanation to the customer who wa
    55 exFATboy : Well, setting aside the "it's the ACAA, not the ADA" point, US Airways IS in compliance with the law. Or at least believes it is. If the gentleman in
    56 Post contains links EA CO AS : MAN! Look up the definition of "chutzpah" and you'll see this guy's picture. Check out his latest interview on MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/2113
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