Saturday, April 14, 2012

Frontier airlines fined for booting quadriplegic passenger off plane

Frontier will pay $50,000 in fines in a settlement after an incident occurred where they refused to allow a quadriplegic passenger to fly. DOT found they also failed to provide appropriate assistance in pre-boarding and getting on and off the plane.

Frontier agreed to the settlement without admitting to the violations, indicating its own investigation of the matter was not consistent with DOT's findings.

"I feel like this is a victory for not just me, but for the whole disabled community," [John Morris] told 7NEWS Friday. "It was humiliating. It was a lot to go through. And I just dont want anyone to go through what I had to go through."

"It really broke my heart, because I know what John goes through on a day to day basis, not being able to do things that he certainly would like to, just wanting the opportunity to travel," said his mother, Kathleen Morris, who was traveling with him.

Morris was not pre-boarded, then placed in a seat that was missing restraints. A baggage handler boarded him and Morris fell onto another passenger, his hand was caught and his shoe fell off. The captain refused to allow him to fly since Morris did not have an alternative restraint system with him, although Morris had flown numerous times using the airlines' seatbelt extenders to support him.

I've seen this happen a number of times, where airlines refuse to pre-board passengers with disabilities. Getting to your seat is a nightmare once the plane is full and inconveniences other passengers. It can also result in injuries. I've also seen arbitrary rules put in place by different airline employees, resulting in travel interruption, humiliating scenes and degrading treatment.

Glad that John Morris used his experiences to help pave the way for better travel for all of us.

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