The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines $50,000 for violating rules protecting passengers with disabilities.
The DOT investigated the carrier following a complaint against the airline by a disabled passenger, who has no use of his arms, legs and torso. The passenger, who is unable to sit upright in an aircraft seat with support and restraint, did not receive notice from Frontier that Federal Aviation Administration requirements disallow seatbelt extenders to be used as restraint devices for his upper body.
Frontier had allowed the passenger to use the extenders in three previous flights, but removed the passenger from the return leg of a round-trip flight.
"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," says the DOT.
The carrier also failed to provide the passenger with adequate assistance in pre-boarding and getting on and off the aircraft, despite receiving notice of the passenger's disability, it adds.