DOT Fines Frontier for Handling of Disabled

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has assessed a civil penalty of $50,000 against Frontier Airlines for violating rules protecting air travelers with disabilities.

An investigation by DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Office into complaints filed against Frontier found that the carrier violated the DOT regulation implementing the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) with respect to its transportation of an individual with a disability.

The Department’s disability regulation requires airlines to provide passengers who notify them that they use a wheelchair for boarding, as this individual did, of any limit on the carriers’ ability to accommodate passengers with a disability, even if the passengers do not request the information.

DOT also said Frontier violated the Department’s disability regulation by failing to provide the passenger with adequate assistance in pre-boarding and getting on and off the plane, despite receiving multiple advance notices that the individual had a disability and needed assistance prior to his flight. 

DOT requires airlines to provide assistance to passengers with disabilities while boarding and deplaning aircraft, including the use of wheelchairs, ramps, mechanical lifts and service personnel where needed.

The DOT said it received a total of 38 disability-related complaints in February 2012, down from both the 40 disability complaints received in February 2011 and the total of 39 filed in January 2012.