N353SK
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US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:06 am

Quote:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Jacksonville man who said he was grounded by an airline in June has flied a lawsuit against the company. He said workers wouldn't let him fly because he's disabled.

U.S. Airways originally issued a statement about the incident stating: "U.S. Airways personnel determined that he would not be able to assist in his own evacuation in the event of an emergency. We feel that our employees acted appropriately and followed both company and federal policy in this situation."

Basically, it sounds like US considered this man to be a "safety hazard" and denied him boarding. I have never heard of this before. Obviously this passenger would have had to be boarded via straightback, but I've never heard of a wheelchair passenger being denied boarding for safety reasons before.


Thoughts?



Source: http://www.news4jax.com/news/14136683/detail.html
 
johnboy
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:13 am

I'm confused here...doesn't the Americans with Disabilities Act come into play?
 
Bicoastal
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:18 am

Wow, US Airways is going to pay big time on this one. I've been on a number of flights where severely disabled have also flown. Yes, there's no way they would be able to evacuate in an emergency. That's the risk they likely take. But for US to say they can't fly at all...well...they'll be writing a big check.

Though in fairness....and not politically correct....when a paraplegic or quadriplegic passenger is in an aisle or middle seat, aren't they indeed a safety hazard in an emergency?
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airtran737
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:24 am

Quoting Johnboy (Reply 1):
I'm confused here...doesn't the Americans with Disabilities Act come into play?

People need to remember that it is the Air Carrier Access Act that governs airlines, and not the ADA. Furthermore, if an airline decides doe deny a passenger with a disability due to a safety reason, then there is not much that the passenger can do. US could have required him to fly with an attendant who would have been responsible for his welfare while on board. If US had required an attendant, then they would have been obligated to provide complimentary transportation to said attendant. There are many cases like this that come up every year, and the airlines almost always come out on top. I myself have denied passengers for travel, and have even been the one to suggest an attendant for travel. On one occasion I acted as the attendant for an individual traveling from MKE to BWI. If you have a thorough knowledge of the A.C.A.A. then you will be able to avoid most of the heat that a passenger can give you. Some are even more impressed when you have a better knowledge of it than they do. Anyone who works for FL in FLL knows what I am talking about. We had a frequent traveler who would always scream about A.C.A.A. violations, but eventually the company called bullshit on him.
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remcor
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:24 am

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 2):

Though in fairness....and not politically correct....when a paraplegic or quadriplegic passenger is in an aisle or middle seat, aren't they indeed a safety hazard in an emergency?

You may be right, although all things taken in balance, I think the (very small) risk of additional danger is greatly outweighed by the rights of those people who don't have the ability to walk. I think it a society that goes out of its way to provide for its disabled - even if it means a slight increase in risk - is a just society. I hope there isn't anyone here who would say "no, don't let him travel because he is an additional danger to ME"
 
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Buyantukhaa
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:24 am

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 2):
.when a paraplegic or quadriplegic passenger is in an aisle or middle seat, aren't they indeed a safety hazard in an emergency

But they aren't. I've seen people being flown on brancards on TP - three window seats taken up by it, and other than that the flight was as normal as it could be. You can't put them in exit rows and preferrably not in aisle seats, but that's all.

It's extremely common for people to be flown home after falling ill or having accidents abroad like that, so why can't disabled people? If they don't obstruct anybody else's evacuation path then it's up to them!
I scratch my head, therefore I am.
 
remcor
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:29 am

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 3):
If you have a thorough knowledge of the A.C.A.A. then you will be able to avoid most of the heat that a passenger can give you.

A disabled passenger? You quote statute to justify not letting him on board the flight? "According to the ACAA we have the right to deny you boarding, etc..." That's pretty un-classy.

I think a more appropriate way to go about it would be to explain - in real terms - why is not possible for your carrier to let him on board. To me, quoting some regulation or statute sounds like your air carrier is hiding behind some law to let them off the hook.
 
AIR757200
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:36 am

If a passenger can't transport themselves to/from their passenger seat, they should be required to travel with a nurse/travel assistant from which the assistant will lift/transport the passenger to their seat. It should not fall upon the employees of the airline.

It's amazing how we can't protect ourselves because of laws like the ACAA, and it's us airline employees that have to face wrist/arm/other injuries since we are "required" to lift them, no matter what they weigh, even after training.
 
airtran737
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:36 am

Quoting Remcor (Reply 6):
A disabled passenger? You quote statute to justify not letting him on board the flight? "According to the ACAA we have the right to deny you boarding, etc..." That's pretty un-classy.

I think a more appropriate way to go about it would be to explain - in real terms - why is not possible for your carrier to let him on board. To me, quoting some regulation or statute sounds like your air carrier is hiding behind some law to let them off the hook.

You would be an idiot to directly quite the A.C.A.A. of course you would put it into "human terms" for them. It is a simple matter of explaining to them that in the event of an emergency there is no way that the crew would be able to evacuate them in a safe manner, which is why they are being denied boarding, or being required to have an attendant.
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airtran737
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:41 am

§ 382.31 Refusal of transportation.

(d) Carrier personnel, as authorized by 49 U.S.C. 44902, 14 CFR 91.8, or 14 CFR 121.533, may refuse to provide transportation to any passenger on the basis of safety, and may refuse to provide transportation to any passenger whose carriage would violate the Federal Aviation Regulations. In exercising this authority, carrier personnel shall not discriminate against any qualified individual with a disability on the basis of disability and their actions shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of this Part. In the event that such action is inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, the carrier shall be subject to remedies provided under § 382.65.

(e) When a carrier refuses to provide transportation to any person on a basis relating to the individual’s disability, the carrier shall specify in writing to the person the basis for the refusal, including, where applicable, the reasonable and specific basis for the carrier’s opinion that transporting the person would or might be inimical to the safety of the flight. This written explanation shall be provided within 10 calendar days of the refusal of transportation.

§ 382.35 Attendants

(b) A carrier may require that a qualified individual with a disability meeting any of the following criteria travel with an attendant as a condition of being provided air transportation, if the carrier determines that an attendant is essential for safety:

(1) A person traveling in a stretcher or incubator. The attendant for such a person must be capable of attending to the passenger’s in-flight medical needs;

(2) A person who, because of a mental disability, is unable to comprehend or respond appropriately to safety instructions from carrier personnel, including the safety briefing required by 14 CFR 121.571 (a) (3) and (a)(4) or 14 CFR 135.117(b);

(3) A person with a mobility impairment so severe that the person is unable to assist in his or her own evacuation of the aircraft;

(4) A person who has both severe hearing and severe vision impairments, if the person cannot establish some means of communication with carrier personnel, adequate to permit transmission of the safety briefing required by 14 CFR 121.571(a)(3) and (a)(4) or 14 CFR 135.117(b).

(c) If the carrier determines that a person meeting the criteria of paragraph (b)(2), (b)(3) or (b)(4) of this section must travel with an attendant, contrary to the individual’s self-assessment that he or she is capable of traveling independently, the carrier shall not charge for the transportation of the attendant
.
(d) If, because there is not a seat available on a flight for an attendant whom the carrier has determined to be necessary, a person with a disability who has a confirmed reservation is unable to travel on the flight, the person with a disability shall be eligible for denied boarding compensation under 14 CFR part 250.

(e) For purposes of determining whether a seat is available for an attendant, the attendant shall be deemed to have checked in at the same time as the person with a disability.
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lincoln
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:49 am

Quoting Johnboy (Reply 1):
I'm confused here...doesn't the Americans with Disabilities Act come into play?

As AirTran pointed out above, it doesn't. The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) is the only thing that governs the way airlines deal with disabilities. Interesting note is that it's also a few years older than ADA.

In this case 14 CFR 382.31(d)-(e) provides that (emphasis is mine):

Quote:
(d) Carrier personnel, as authorized by 49 U.S.C. 1511, 14 CFR 91.8, or 14 CFR 121.533, may refuse to provide transportation to any passenger on the basis of safety, and may refuse to provide transportation to any
passenger whose carriage would violate the Federal Aviation Regulations.
[...]
(e) When a carrier refuses to provide transportation to any person on a basis relating to the individual's disability, the carrier shall specify in writing to the person the basis for the refusal, including, where applicable, the reasonable and specific basis for the carrier's opinion that transporting the person would or might be inimical to the safety of the flight. This written explanation shall be provided within 10 calendar days of the refusal of transportation.

Also note that he was required to provide at least 48 hours notice and check in at leat one hour prior to the flight if he required transportation of an electric wheelchair (14 CFR 382.33). Also note that 14 CFR 382.35(b)(3) allows an airline to require an attendant for a person who the airline dertermines has "...a mobility imparement so severe that the preson is unable to assist in his or her own evacuation of the aircraft" .

An interesting note is that 14 CFR 382.35(c) says that "If the carrier determines that a person [...] must travel with an attendant contrary to the individual's self-assessment that he or she is capable of traveling independently, the carrier shall not charge for the transportation of the attendant"

It's perfectly possible that the US agent was being a bit overly conservative by denying boarding, but it's unlikely that they violated any laws by doing so.

Lincoln
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D328
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:51 am

I asked this question at work all the time to the supervisor's at USExpress at PIT, and I would say you put someone on a plane who cannot move at all themselves and the plane goes down but is survivable and that person cannot make it out at all and is kill. Can and will his/her family sue the airline for his/her death since it was survivable? Say the plane is on fire and everyone gets off and no was able or had the time to help the one disabled person.

Where do you draw the line, or is there fine print saying in the ticket if this happens they are not liable?

If someone cannot help themselves they need someone traveling with him/her. I think it is that simple. It's not fair to put others at risk because a person is disabled and has to count on others in case of an accident. What if him/her is obese? I don't see a little nice F/A lifting that person. People at Express in PIT were hurt every month or two trying to help people with needs. I cannot remember the times having to push people up jetways that were way bigger than me in a wheelchair.
 
kstatepilot
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:58 am

Quoting BuyantUkhaa (Reply 5):
But they aren't. I've seen people being flown on brancards on TP - three window seats taken up by it, and other than that the flight was as normal as it could be. You can't put them in exit rows and preferrably not in aisle seats, but that's all.

Did Bicostal not say an aisle or middle seat? he didn't say window seat. Your example has the passenger in the window seat where it doesn't hamper the other passengers.

Quoting AIR757200 (Reply 7):
If a passenger can't transport themselves to/from their passenger seat, they should be required to travel with a nurse/travel assistant from which the assistant will lift/transport the passenger to their seat. It should not fall upon the employees of the airline.

I totally agree. As a crew member I will not leave until all my passengers are off the aircraft. By having a person unable to help himself get off the airplane could endanger the lives of the crew, and possibly other passengers trying to help. Now if the passenger has someone to "assist" then he shouldn't be denied boarding.

I do feel we aren't getting the whole story. US said they agree with what the employees did. This says to me that the employees tried to help him, possibly by letting a "care taker" fly with him for free.

If we only knew the whole story...
 
ltbewr
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:17 am

Perhaps his choice of flight was relatively full limiting the ability of the f/a's from giving full attention, on a RJ or other like smaller a/c where even normal people would have difficulty escaping in an emergency. That he was able to travel unassisted in the past could be seen as a precedant, but his disability may have become worse since those previous flights to the degree that it put him and the airline at risk. That he was able to fly on another airline suggests some f/a was perhaps a little picky or lazy or had long duties hours that day. It will be interesting to see how his case goes and I suspect there may be a settlement.
 
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Buyantukhaa
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:38 am

Quoting Kstatepilot (Reply 12):
Did Bicostal not say an aisle or middle seat? he didn't say window seat. Your example has the passenger in the window seat where it doesn't hamper the other passengers.

That was the point I was trying to make. In situations like these, if you seat pax on window seats, at least the obstruction argument is gone. Whether you would then want the crew to endanger themselves to evacuate this person in an emergency, is a difficult question. But at least the safety of the other pax is then removed out of the equation, so to say.
I scratch my head, therefore I am.
 
freshlove1
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:43 am

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 2):
Wow, US Airways is going to pay big time on this one.

US is not going to have to pay anything. Safety first. Anyone can be denied boarding if they are a safety risk. It looks like this person is just trying to use his disability to gain some money for himself and probably blowing this situation way out of proportion. US Airways legal team against this guys lawyer, my $$$ is on US winning or the case being thrown out.
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:46 am

We have these rules as well and passengers will be classified as ambulatory or non-ambulatory. If they are unable to evacuate by themselves in an emergency then they MUST have a companion who takes responsibility for them.

Where you decide to sit them does not matter. By sitting them by a window are you claiming that although they will not obstruct an aisle, it is ok for them to be overlooked and left there by the crew as the fuselage is burning? Besides the practicality of getting someone like that to clamber over one or two other seats to get to the window seat is ridiculous.

Unfortunately we do not know the entire story and what words were spoken that day. Certainly there is a correct way to explain it to the passenger involved and a not so correct way. At the end of the day though, some passengers will get the same reaction, no matter how you break it to them.
 
bok269
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:51 pm

I think US was just in their actions. While I had sympathy for the man, putting him on an aircraft could be very dangerous. When a plane is evacuated, every second is crucial. What if in an evacuation occured and he was blocking people in the aisle or in his seat? He would have to be carried off by other pax, jeopardizing themselves and the other pax who are trying to make it off the plane. Imagine if something like the CI fire happened. Everyone survived because the cabin crew got everyone off quickly. What if a disabled person was on board and was blocking the evacuation process? People could have been killed. It is the same reason why you can be too drunk to fly. the airlines are concerned about their civil liability but more importantly the life of this men and the lives of those around him.
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IADCA
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:29 pm

There's actually surprisingly little caselaw on this type of issue (generally, denial of boarding under ACAA), and the decisions often conflict, ranging from summary judgment for the airline based on a lack of a private right of action under the statute to verdicts for the plaintiffs. One common thread here is that the cases seem to often be partially reversed and thus remanded by appellate courts, meaning that the litigation in this one could get REAL expensive. Looking at the caselaw very briefly, it seems this guy is unlikely to get anywhere near his million, as the sole case in which emotional damages were awarded were for a 14 year old girl who clearly was pretty profoundly emotionally affected by the experience. The main issue here is whether US can say they were reasonable in denying him boarding rather than trying to accommodate him; here again, the law is split.

This is actually a pretty interesting puzzle in legal terms, or as a normal person would call it "a total shit-show."
 
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:50 pm

Quoting Kstatepilot (Reply 12):
US said they agree with what the employees did. This says to me that the employees tried to help him, possibly by letting a "care taker" fly with him for free.

And for what it's worth, airlines do not just arbitrarily elect to deny boarding. If the agent determines that safety requires a person to have an attendant, the airline's local Complaints Resolution Official (CRO) is always consulted to ensure the carrier is in compliance with the ACAA.

Quoting CX flyboy (Reply 16):
If they are unable to evacuate by themselves in an emergency then they MUST have a companion who takes responsibility for them

And the air carrier isn't required to have the attendant be a companion of the traveler's choosing, either. Most carriers will ask employee non-revenue travelers on the same flight to act as an attendant should the need arise, or ask for other customers on the same flight to volunteer to be an attendant. Keep in mind this person is only responsible for assisting in the evacuation of the disabled traveler should there be an emergency. Personal service duties are not expected or required.
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OHLHD
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:03 pm

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 2):
Wow, US Airways is going to pay big time on this one.

No I don't think so. If he is travelling alone and cannot walk, the crew is not required to carry the pax around the aircraft. There are limits of service also for disabled.

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 9):

Thanks for posting this.  Smile
 
remcor
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:46 am

Quoting Bok269 (Reply 17):
I think US was just in their actions. While I had sympathy for the man, putting him on an aircraft could be very dangerous. When a plane is evacuated, every second is crucial.

Why not deny wheelchair bound people from tall buildings? I mean when there's a fire you're not supposed to take an elevator, right? Try lugging a guy down 20 flights of stairs. What about putting them in a car? Safety belts aren't as functional, airbags probably won't work, getting out when the car is smashed could be a nightmare. It's a safety hazard.

They should all stay at home in fireproof houses where it's safe?

I think people who are confined to a wheelchair by in-large understand that there are going to be additional risks involved. But I think if you would ask any of them whether that additional risk should prevent them from gaining the mobility and freedom that others have and you'd surely get a resounding 'no'. Likewise, I would ask how many people here would be selfish enough to deny a wheelchair bound man or woman the ability to fly because they are afraid that if their plane crashes thing would be very slightly less safe for them?

Someone on another thread put it well: planes are made to fly, not crash. While safety is very important, we should not demand such high safety standards that it prevents many of our less fortunate citizens (who have the same rights as we do) from traveling.
 
SkyexRamper
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:55 am

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 3):

Well said in all of your posts!

For those who actually read the article, you would have read this line: "They said I was too disabled to fly alone."

Which as AT737 pointed out is when an airline can say no to the passenger. It's for the safety and comfort of all passengers on board including the person in question. It's not the F/As job to take care of passengers like this as harsh as that may sound. This guy's lawsuit will fall through in a heart beat.
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michlis
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:34 am

Quote:
This guy's lawsuit will fall through in a heart beat.

If it even gets filed at all. Presuming the facts are correct, a good attorney would probably see this as a losing case and not bother with it all.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles.
 
warowl40
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:03 am

One would hope that in the event of an evacuation other passengers would assist in getting a disabled passenger to safety. The same way they would help an elderly person or a child, or for that matter, someone who might be injured or disabled as a result of whatever incidence has caused the evacuation. ...
 
N353SK
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:12 am

Quoting Skyexramper (Reply 22):
"They said I was too disabled to fly alone."

Good grab. I didn't even see this when I made the OP, but then I didn't know about the attendant policy either.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:39 am

I think the biggest problem for US with all of this is that they aren't uniformly enforcing the policy. I have a family member who also has a neurological disability that confines him to a wheelchair. He's flown US mainline (and some Express carriers, at least Colgan and probably a couple of others) numerous times. The thing that concerns me about this incident is that the man had no way of knowing that US was going to deny him boarding. What if he had gotten to MKE, MKE had denied him, and he had been stuck there? While it may not be illegal for them to do so, it's terrible P.R. and the thing that, if I were US, I'd be concerned about.

Sometimes people are a lot more disabled than they look and sometimes they are a lot less. Sometimes people (talking about exit rows now) do not look like they speak English and yet they speak impeccable English. Sometimes people look like they ought to speak English and don't know a lick of it. There's an easy way to avoid these problems: TRAINING and COMMUNICATION. Looks like US didn't do a very good job on either account.
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nzrich
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:41 am

Quoting Remcor (Reply 21):
I think people who are confined to a wheelchair by in-large understand that there are going to be additional risks involved. But I think if you would ask any of them whether that additional risk should prevent them from gaining the mobility and freedom that others have and you'd surely get a resounding 'no'. Likewise, I would ask how many people here would be selfish enough to deny a wheelchair bound man or woman the ability to fly because they are afraid that if their plane crashes thing would be very slightly less safe for them?

Maybe turn this around also say your a crew member like i am ..The plane crashes and you have evacuated the lane all that is left is one person who cant walk or move ..That one person is now possibly putting you in danger of loosing your own life if they are not travelling with someone .. Also a burning building will not totally explode into a infurno with jet fuel if something does happen .. I work for a airline and we do require people who can not move to have someone with them on the flight ..Its for their and our own safety ..
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SkyexRamper
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:13 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 26):
Sometimes people are a lot more disabled than they look and sometimes they are a lot less. Sometimes people (talking about exit rows now) do not look like they speak English and yet they speak impeccable English. Sometimes people look like they ought to speak English and don't know a lick of it. There's an easy way to avoid these problems: TRAINING and COMMUNICATION. Looks like US didn't do a very good job on either account.

And with this all said, if you the guy just booked online or had someone book his ticket, there is no way to know about his disability until he arrives at the airport to check-in. Like AT737 stated about his experience, if another passenger doesn't offer to help, then the airline can move onto their employees ask for someone to fly with the person. At least at Skyway, if an employee is chosen to fly with the person, the company covers all expenses for that employee to the final destination. I don't recall ever seeing a box to check, while doing online booking, for disabled passengers.
Good Luck to all Skyway Pilots! It's been great working with you!
 
Cubsrule
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:20 am

Quoting SkyexRamper (Reply 28):
I don't recall ever seeing a box to check, while doing online booking, for disabled passengers.

You'd have an idea if the person requested assistance from the airline (my family member LOVED to connect at PIT in the hub days, as they'd drive him across the tarmac), but not otherwise.
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N1120A
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:31 am

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 3):
If you have a thorough knowledge of the A.C.A.A. then you will be able to avoid most of the heat that a passenger can give you.

Are you quoting the CFR or the A.C.A.A. itself? It looks like you are quoting the CFR, which do not have the same weight as law as the US Code provision. There is nothing in 49 USC 41705 that calls for attendants or anything of the like.
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aa757first
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:59 am

Quoting Remcor (Reply 21):

Someone on another thread put it well: planes are made to fly, not crash. While safety is very important, we should not demand such high safety standards that it prevents many of our less fortunate citizens (who have the same rights as we do) from traveling.

No one said he wasn't allowed to fly. They said he had to have an attendant.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 26):
The thing that concerns me about this incident is that the man had no way of knowing that US was going to deny him boarding. What if he had gotten to MKE, MKE had denied him, and he had been stuck there?

That's true. There is a section on their website
( http://www.usairways.com/awa/content...mersfirst/customerserviceplan.aspx ) but its very ambiguous. However, I'm sure calling the reservations number would give you the information you need.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:07 am

Quoting Aa757first (Reply 31):
However, I'm sure calling the reservations number would give you the information you need.

But this guy had flown US in the past and knew that they had permitted to fly 'as is.' (I feel bad ascribing that term to a person, but it gets the meaning across). Why should he go looking on the website for trouble? I'd have a different take on this story if he had not been allowed to fly with the same airline, and likely on the same route and aircraft (given the US operation at JAX) before.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
Flighty
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:37 am

This is a little silly. Most airlines do not evacuate in a whole year. AA flies around 1,000,000 mainline flights per year. How many evacuated in 2006? 2005?

Your odds of being in an evacuation with slides -- and being seated inside a handicapped person -- and being physically trapped by them -- are very small indeed. Given that 1 handicapped person will be on your flight, you chances of dying because of them are around (1/1,000,000) * (1/50) * (1/10) = 1 in 500 million. So not much reason to fear the wheelchair-bound.

Some things are known to kill people, but not paralyzed airline pax. Never heard of them causing any deaths yet.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 26):
I think the biggest problem for US with all of this is that they aren't uniformly enforcing the policy.

Right, it makes no sense to require every paralyzed person to have an escort. Many of them lead totally independent, modern lives which includes air travel. So US does not enforce the rule for para-palaegics (sp?) most likely, ever. It's silly to do that.
 
IADCA
Posts: 1346
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:18 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 30):
Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 3):
If you have a thorough knowledge of the A.C.A.A. then you will be able to avoid most of the heat that a passenger can give you.

Are you quoting the CFR or the A.C.A.A. itself? It looks like you are quoting the CFR, which do not have the same weight as law as the US Code provision. There is nothing in 49 USC 41705 that calls for attendants or anything of the like.

That's the CFR. Here's the code:

41705. Discrimination against handicapped individuals


(a) In general.--In providing air transportation, an air carrier, including (subject to section 40105(b)) any foreign air carrier, may not discriminate against an otherwise qualified individual on the following grounds:

(1) the individual has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
(2) the individual has a record of such an impairment.
(3) the individual is regarded as having such an impairment.

(b) Each act constitutes separate offense.--For purposes of section 46301, a separate violation occurs under this section for each individual act of discrimination prohibited by subsection (a).


(c) Investigation of complaints.--

(1) In general.--The Secretary shall investigate each complaint of a violation of subsection (a).
(2) Publication of data.--The Secretary shall publish disability-related complaint data in a manner comparable to other consumer complaint data.
(3) Review and report.--The Secretary shall regularly review all complaints received by air carriers alleging discrimination on the basis of disability and shall report annually to Congress on the results of such review.
(4) Technical assistance.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this subsection, the Secretary shall--
(A) implement a plan, in consultation with the Department of Justice, the United States Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, and the National Council on Disability, to provide technical assistance to air carriers and individuals with disabilities in understanding the rights and responsibilities set forth in this section; and
(B) ensure the availability and provision of appropriate technical assistance manuals to individuals and entities with rights or responsibilities under this section.

That's the entirety of it. Look at the annotated code, and it'll get you all the caselaw you could want.

Quoting Michlis (Reply 23):
If it even gets filed at all. Presuming the facts are correct, a good attorney would probably see this as a losing case and not bother with it all.

It's already been filed, as the article says. As I posted earlier, there is very mixed precedent on the viability of similar claims, ranging from a lack of a private right of action under 49 USC 41705 to liability with punitive damages. The ALR article on the statute as a whole (188 ALR Fed. 367) is pretty detailed, and gives direct citations to several denied boarding cases. Although the article doesn't say, I'd assume this case was filed in federal court in Florida under federal question jurisdiction, although US's wide contacts would allow some forum shopping here using diversity jurisdiction. Hard to say what will happen without knowing where it was filed, as the precedents in several of the circuits are vastly different.
 
avek00
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:25 am

From what little has been presented, I'm of the belief that US would be victorious, using either a reasonable accomodation theory or a direct threat theory.
Live life to the fullest.
 
Scotland1979
Crew
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:56 am

I think someone who thinks that disabled person should not be aboard flight, may be ignorant. Or lack knowledge of what to do with disabled person(s).
If the disabled person thinks he can do by himself, then I do not see any reason why he is denied. Unless something had happened to himself at previous flight, maybe it is the reason how the airline has measured.
For instance, I have been flying many times (by myself, with friends, with wife, with family, you name it) only a few time that I was told to be assist to the gate, etc. It can irk me sometimes. Well, I was expecting some ignorants out there who do not know what to do with Deaf passengers, so why should I be bothered to file a lawsuit. If I am denied aboard flight, then I may do something with lawsuit.
You have to remember in reality there are approx 20 % of them are well-educated, so how can I take care of the rest 80%. So much to deal with. So you have to prepare for the worst with one of the 80%. So you should try your best.
Jesus said "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" - John 14:6
 
nzrich
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:01 am

Quoting Flighty (Reply 33):
This is a little silly. Most airlines do not evacuate in a whole year. AA flies around 1,000,000 mainline flights per year. How many evacuated in 2006? 2005?Your odds of being in an evacuation with slides -- and being seated inside a handicapped person -- and being physically trapped by them -- are very small indeed. Given that 1 handicapped person will be on your flight, you chances of dying because of them are around (1/1,000,000) * (1/50) * (1/10) = 1 in 500 million. So not much reason to fear the wheelchair-bound.

Yes we all know the odds are so low its not funny .. But its not the odds were talking about ..Say it does happen your unlucky to be on that one aircraft that does crash .. Having a un aided person that can not walk or take instructions could put the crew at risk as well as the person itself .. Its for their safety as well that someone is on board thinking of their safety .. If there was a fire without a aid it could be a death sentance for the wheel chair bound people and for the crew who will look after them after everyone else has evacuated ..With a aid that person has a higher chance of getting off alive than with no one ..If you look at it from the health and safety position its not only looking after the crew its also looking after the passenger .. I have a family member that requires special assistance and i would not let her travel on her own as she would be incapable of looking after herself in a emergency ..Im glad US Airways has strict policies that make sure people like my family member get the best care possible .. Sorry but letting someone who cant move without help travel on their own is a recipe for death in a emergency for that person ..
"Pride of the pacific"
 
IADCA
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:10 am

Quoting Avek00 (Reply 35):
From what little has been presented, I'm of the belief that US would be victorious, using either a reasonable accomodation theory or a direct threat theory.

I tend to agree, but the courts are split over what accommodation is reasonable here.

[Edited 2007-09-20 02:14:39]
 
bloodyrascal
Posts: 91
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:17 am

Quoting Flighty (Reply 33):
Your odds of being in an evacuation with slides -- and being seated inside a handicapped person -- and being physically trapped by them -- are very small indeed. Given that 1 handicapped person will be on your flight, you chances of dying because of them are around (1/1,000,000) * (1/50) * (1/10) = 1 in 500 million. So not much reason to fear the wheelchair-bound.

Honestly if you were in that situation and you were sitting next to a handicapped person how would they be able to move?
trust me those odds maybe very low but it still happens. And when it does its a big deal. I agree with US they are not discriminating but for the saftey of everyone its best that they dont let handicapped people on. He should be appreciative that they told him that because what if they had crashed? He would have no chance for survival when there are hundreds of people trying to escape so they wouldn't have time to save him
 
Siege2L
Posts: 114
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:17 am

Whoever is right, whoever is wrong, the problem is lack of consistency. I hope the pax involved had saved his previous boarding passes, receipts, FF statement ( if applicable ) to show he flies under his condition. It is very unfortunate for this pax to endure the embarrassment, pay for another ticket ( as per the link ), and delay his travels. Does anyone know which airline he flew with days later?

The days of 'USAir, Begins With You' are long gone. I loved them. USAirways, today, makes me want to throw up my lunch. Such disgusting behavior on the part of US JAX due to this one ground staff agent(s).

I hope he wins the monetary compensation whilst USAirways learns a valuable lesson in consistency.
Flying higher than over your dreams...
 
bok269
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:23 pm

Quoting Remcor (Reply 21):
Why not deny wheelchair bound people from tall buildings? I mean when there's a fire you're not supposed to take an elevator, right? Try lugging a guy down 20 flights of stairs. What about putting them in a car? Safety belts aren't as functional, airbags probably won't work, getting out when the car is smashed could be a nightmare. It's a safety hazard.

Buildings also don't fly throught the air at Mach .80 7 miles above the earth with tons of kerosene aboard. Buildings also provide for larger egress points, and have emergency exits that wont be affected by one person blocking one.

Say you have a 737 with a fire in the fuel tanks (middle of the aircraft). A disabled person is seated three quarters of the way back. Passengers are forced to help him, but can not do so quickly. His evacuation blocks the aisle, trapping scores of people between the inferno and the disabled passenger.
"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
 
User avatar
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:48 pm

Quoting Skyexramper (Reply 22):
For those who actually read the article, you would have read this line: "They said I was too disabled to fly alone."

What the CRO said and what the customer "heard" are likely two entirely different things. CROs are trained how to present this information, and "Sorry, you're too disabled to fly alone," would never come out of their mouths.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
wukka
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:31 pm

Quoting Bok269 (Reply 41):
His evacuation blocks the aisle, trapping scores of people between the inferno and the disabled passenger.

Just as much as his wheelchair evacuation blocks at least a quarter of the stairwells in a burning 20 story building trapping scores of people between the inferno and the disabled person.

A 738 provides more egress points than a corporate building with a couple thousand occupants, unless you consider a busted out window 200 ft. AGL a "larger egress point". Some good that does. It might get you out fairly quickly, but you won't like what happens a few seconds later.

Your argument is lame.

Hell, you might trip over your shoestring in an aircraft evacuation, crippling you, blocking the aisle and trapping scores of people behind you... but of course that wouldn't happen, would it?
We can agree to disagree.
 
OHLHD
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:55 pm

I wanted to add:

Every airline has an Ground Services Manual in which it is clearly stated when a disabled passenger can traveled and under what circumstances. Furthermore there are the "condition of carriage".

I have personally offloaded disabled passenger in my aviation carrier ( including Americans who threatened to sue me and the airline) because they were not meeting the criteria of flying. Not that it was fun but I had to think about all passengers on board and not just only one. Same goes for the crew. They can't focus on one passenger the entire flight. That will make the other passengers angry.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 11368
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:23 pm

Quoting OHLHD (Reply 44):
Every airline has an Ground Services Manual in which it is clearly stated when a disabled passenger can traveled and under what circumstances.

Apparently, US doesn't always follow theirs.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
L410Turbolet
Posts: 5420
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:42 pm

Quoting Remcor (Reply 21):
I think people who are confined to a wheelchair by in-large understand that there are going to be additional risks involved. But I think if you would ask any of them whether that additional risk should prevent them from gaining the mobility and freedom that others have and you'd surely get a resounding 'no'.

Maybe not the disabled pax themselves, but the moment anything wrong happens to them the arline will have the disabled pax's relatives with an army of greedy lawyers all over the news making this aspect the very foundation of their lawsuit. "Litigation society" at its worst.
It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Not too long ago there was a thread about CSA letting a disabled pax onboard and fellow a.nettter was all hysterical about it.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 11368
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:47 pm

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 46):
Maybe not the disabled pax themselves, but the moment anything wrong happens to them the arline will have the disabled pax's relatives with an army of greedy lawyers all over the news making this aspect the very foundation of their lawsuit.

Let's leave aside what the law says, as it's conflicting (and my fellow attorneys and law students have posted most or all of what's relevant above).

The key question is this:

If US has allowed the guy to fly before and suddenly (and without warning) denies him boarding, would you not agree that he's been wronged?

If you would answer that question affirmatively (and let me stress again, it is not and is not intended to be a legal question), then you have no right to complain about greedy attorneys.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
OHLHD
Posts: 2903
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:56 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 45):
Apparently, US doesn't always follow theirs.

Was this action against their GSM?
 
Flighty
Posts: 7648
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RE: US Denies Man Boarding. Reason? "Too Disabled"

Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:27 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 45):
Apparently, US doesn't always follow theirs.

No. And neither do most airlines. Paralyzed (waist-down) people fly all the time without attendants. There is nothing wrong with that. To play the "safety card" is just retarded. Nobody ever got hurt because they were trapped beside a handicapped person in a taxiway inferno. A much bigger concern is getting out to use the bathroom. But, it can be dealt with.

Should the F/As help with that, YES. Absolutely. Their job is to take care of pax. If one of those pax is handicapped and needs some onloading / offloading help... fine. F/As can, and do, take care of handicapped pax.

This needs to be distinct from physically unstable people such as the extremely ill. Those people could die in mid-flight. If you are too sick, or your medical situation is too severe, you should not fly. That is a rule I support. But many paralyzed persons are perfectly healthy and in principle can travel alone, even if airlines have the technical right to deny them. There is no reason to use that right of denial except for the very handicapped. But plenty of people cannot walk, it is not the end of the world. For example, some people have no legs. Is it really such a problem? No, let them fly.

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