Here is a round-up of the latest news in the world of wheelchair travel, including a DOT investigation that will touch Delta Air Lines and a horrifying incident involving an emotional support animal.

Travel industry news from around the web:

  • DOT investigates tarmac delays at Atlanta Airport — A December power outage at Delta’s hub, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, caused delays which left some passengers stuck on airplanes for upwards of 7 hours. Tarmac delays exceeding 3 hours for domestic flights and 4 hours for international flights violate DOT regulations, and the agency “is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the lengthy tarmac delays that occurred at ATL on December 17, 2017.” I hope they will pay particular attention to the treatment of passengers with disabilities and the major ACAA violations that were reported on social media.
  • Did Spirit Airlines force a passenger to kill her Emotional Support Animal? — When Spirit Airlines refused to transport Belen Aldecosea’s emotional support hamster on a flight from Baltimore, she claims airline employees suggested she set it free outside the airport or flush it down a toilet. A Spirit Airlines spokesperson denied that any such suggestion was made and Aldecosea has hired an attorney.
  • H.R.620 passes the House by a 225-192 margin — A bill that would limit enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act and deny people with disabilities the right to sue in response to violations has passed the House of Representatives on a near party-line vote. Multiple civil rights protestors were arrested. You can read more about my position on the bill here.
  • Multiple airplane evacuations this week — With each airplane evacuation that occurs, my worry increases that a passenger with a disability will be needlessly injured or killed due to the lack of an accessible emergency evacuation plan. On Monday night, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 was evacuated at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California after a fire broke out. On Tuesday, a Delta Air Lines Boeing 777 made an emergency landing in Lagos, Nigeria and was subsequently evacuated, leaving 5 passengers injured.

Check back every couple of weeks for a new roundup of accessible travel news. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter to catch all the latest updates!

Feature image courtesy The Associated Press/Branden Camp.

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