Group sues over airline rule delay
A veterans group has sued the U.S. Transportation Department for delaying a rule that would have required airlines to track data on lost or damaged wheelchairs and scooters in the same way that carriers report lost or damaged luggage.
Starting next year, airlines operating in the U.S. were expected to begin reporting when they had lost or damaged passengers’ wheelchairs and scooters.
But the Transportation Department has delayed implementation of the rule until 2019, prompting a lawsuit by Paralyzed Veterans of America contending that the reporting would help fliers identify which carriers are most likely to lose or damage a wheelchair.
Airlines usually require passengers to have their wheelchairs or scooters stored in a plane’s cargo area. During the five-year period when the wheelchair rule was under consideration, dozens of travelers wrote to the Transportation Department citing examples of lost or damaged wheelchairs.
“Wheelchairs replace functionality and provide independence. Having your only means of leaving the plane get lost or damaged is demoralizing,” David Zurfluh, president of Paralyzed Veterans of America, said in a statement. “It is a significant issue for all travelers with mobility limitations, and one Paralyzed Veterans of America will not relent on until it’s fixed,” he said.
The veterans group is asking the court to reinstate the original starting date of Jan. 1, 2018.