(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) The U.S. Department of Transportation said today that it fined Delta Air Lines $2 million for violating federal rules on passengers with disabilities.
This civil penalty is the largest penalty ever assessed against an airline by the DOT in a non-safety-related case.
Airlines are required to report disability-related complaints to the DOT, which provides that information to the public here. In 2009, the most recent year for which this information is available, Delta had more complaints lodged against it than any other domestic carrier.
The DOT said today that its investigation had found many violations of the requirements to provide assistance to passengers while getting on and off airplanes. The government also said that Delta frequently did not respond adequately to disability complaints from passengers.
Delta says it's addressing the problem. "We take the responsibility of serving customers with disabilities seriously and have made significant investments in technology, feedback assessment, and training since the issues in 2007 and 2008 that the DOT cites in its consent order," said spokesman Morgan Durrant. "We will continue to coordinate with DOT and our Customer Advisory Board on Disabilities to ensure that these efforts are appropriately supporting customers with disabilities and providing them with a consistent travel experience."
Delta is allowed to use most of the fine to improve its service for travelers with disabilities, especially those in wheelchairs.
You can read the DOT's press release here.
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