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Maverick, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 6390
Experience:  20 years experience as a civil trial and appellate lawyer
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I recently went to Hawaii via American Airlines. I reserved

Customer Question

I recently went to Hawaii via American Airlines. I reserved a wheelchair in advance. Each time I arrived @ a terminal, I had to request a wheelchair & wait until one was available. There was usually only one wheelchair available, so I had to wait until the previous disabled person was taken to his or her terminal & then come back for me. On my return flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles, we were scheduled to arrive @ LAX @ 9:35 pm. We did arrive timely in L.A., but the pilot informed us that there would b a 15 min. delay due to heavy traffic on the runway. My flight from L..A. to San Diego (my home) was scheduled to depart @ 10:30 pm. After the 15 mins. were up, the pilot informed us that there would still b another 15 - 20 mins. delay. I panicked bcuz my boarding pass did not indicate a Gate #. I wondered how I would find out which Gate I had to b @, walk there & not b late for my departure. I was in severe pain following a 5 hr flight & an additional 30 min (approx) delay. I had been assigned a window seat & was seated next to a disabled Caucasian man & his wife. It took a long time for me to finally get someone to help me get my carry-on from the overhead compartment, as the couple in front of me struggled to get off the plane. I was surprised to find a wheelchair with my name on it waiting for me outside the plane. I told her that the boarding pass did not indicate which Gate I had to b @. She looked @ my boarding pass & said she knew which Gate it was. She got me to terminal & then told me that she needed my wheelchair. She didn't give me an explanation & just left me standing there in excruciating pain. There were several airline agents @ the terminal, but were laughing & joking. I kept trying to get their attention, but they were too busy laughing. I finally got a woman's attention & I told her about the wheelchair incident. She told me to go sit on a bench & continued talking & laughing. I told her that if I did that, I would lose my place in line. She told me it was either that or stand in line. Eventually, the agent came back with the wheelchair. She had gone to pick up the Caucasian man, who was seated next to me on the plane. She stayed by his side until a shuttle arrived to take us to the departure location. By that time, the pain was unbearable. I got on the shuttle & sat behind the driver. I had to climb up to get to my seat. I hadn't even had time to settle in when the driver proceeded to take off. @ that moment, I realized that my daughter, son-in-law & two grandchildren, who had also gone to Hawaii, had not gotten on board. I said, "Oh, no, my family missed the shuttle. Fellow passengers told me noccurredo worry, but being a mother; I did. I told the driver that my family had missed the shuttle. He started yelling @ me, waving his arms up in the air. He said, "What do u want me to do?". I asked him if he knew if there would b another shuttle. He continued yelling @ me. He stopped the shuttle. I stood up & asked him for his name. He then slammed on the gas & I fell backwards. Of course, I got upset & called him a stupid asshole. I told him that I was a disabled person & that I had almost fallen down the step. He turned the shuttle around & took us back to the original terminal. He slammed on the brakes & jumped off the shuttle leaving me & the passengers in the shuttle. I saw him go up to one of the women, who had been talking & he proceeded to scream @ her & wave his arms up in the air. The woman came up to the shuttle & told me to get off the shuttle. She said I would not b allowed to board the plane to San Diego. I told her she could not do that. I tried to explain what had happened, but she came up to me waving her finger in my face. As I tried to explain, she yelled @ me even louder. She told me she was gonna call the cops, if I did not get off the shuttle. The driver came up to me & told me if I didn't get my things, he was gonna take off with them. I gathered my things & he left without me. I was still trying to explain to the woman, but she kept yelling @ me. Finally, I had enough & I raised my voice message to her & told her, "U stupid Mexican, let me speak to u in Spanish so u can understand me". She then called me a racist, in Spanish, & flipped me off. The funny thing is that I am also a Mexican! She told me she didn't care what she had done & proceeded the cops. I asked her for her name, but she refused to give it to me. The driver also refused. That's when my nightmare began. The cops came & spoke to her & wouldn't give me an opportunity to explain. They had already made up their minds that I was @ fault. In the meantime, my daughter & family were in line waiting for another shuttle. I went up to my daughter & she & my son-in-law yelled & me & blamed me for them missing their shuttle. My daughter kept telling me to shut up in front of all the staff & passengers. Of course, I told her that I was her mother & was concerned about them & she should not disrespect me. She asked to b taken outside bcuz my grandson was crying & she blamed it on me. My grandson adores his Nana & he was standing next to my daughter when she was yelling @ me. So, the airline staff, including the cops, went to talk to her. The cops came up to me & asked me if I was taking medication. I had previously been complaining that to them that my meds were aboard the plan enroute to San Diego & I was in severe pain. I told him I hadn't taken my meds, as I had previously told them that my meds were on the plane in my carry-on that I had been asked to check in. The lead cop then asked if I was under a Dr's care. I said, "Yes, my meds r prescribed". I complained, again, that I was in severe pain. He then asked me sarcastically if I wanted to go to the hospital or "psych ward"! I asked for his supervisor & he suddenly changed his tone & asked me if there was anything he could do to resolve this matter. I told him he could get me another flight to San Diego. He informed me that there were no other flights! My daughter was given two vouchers, on for a hotel, & the other for a flight the following date. She left me there alone! I asked the cop if I was gonna get vouchers & he said, "No"! I asked him why & he said that I was @ fault. His supervisor finally arrived. I noticed that a woman was talking to the staff, but I didn't know who she was. She approached me, without identifying herself. She gave me a dirty look & asked me,"What going on"? Since I didn't know why she was, I looked @ the cop; who told me she was the supervisor. Again, she kept talking over me & wouldn't let me explain what had happened. She told me that if everybody had given her one explanation & I had another version; I must b @ fault. So, I asked for her supervisor. I had already been there for he's with nothing to drink, eat or go to the restroom. I was not asked if I needed something for my pain or a wheelchair. Her supervisor finally arrived & he, too, spoke to personnel & treated me very rudely. I told him about the driver & he said that he had turned the shuttle bcuz I had demanded he do so! I told him that was not true. I told him that the driver had done so when I asked him for his name so I could file a complaint. The supervisor, who also refused to identify himself, said that it was not possible bcuz that would b in violation of airline regulations. When the cop's supervisor arrived, she didn'tr identify herself to me. She gave me attitude & also refused to listen to my explanation. She even asked me "if I heard voices"! My daughter more than likely told personnel & the cops that I also suffered from mental illness, severe depression. The cop's supervisor told me she was obligated to ask me that question. I guess me calling the driver, "stupid asshole" & the Mexican woman, "a mexicana pendeja", (a slang word meaning stupid or idiot in Spanish); makes me an insane person!! I was tired, hungry, holding my bladder & in excruciating pain; so I started crying. The cop's supervisor looked like she didn't know what to do. I told her that I was gonna file complaints for racial & disability discrimination. I then kept quiet & took a deep breath. The airline supervisor told me that they had a customer relations upstairs & I could file my complaints there. I proceeded to stand up. I had been sitting on a hard metal bench inside the terminal. All this occurred in front of airline personnel & passengers! I asked in the 1stnairline
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

Welcome! My name is Maverick. Please give me a few minutes to analyze and/or research your inquiry and I will be back.

Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

*Can you please state your specific legal question so we know what type of answer you are looking for?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hi. Isn't the airline required to have a certain amount of wheelchairs available for their disabled passengers? The investigator handling my complaint offered me a $50 voucher for my next flight with them. I told him I expected more than that bcuz of the horrible experience, pain & treatment I endured for hrs. I was detained in the terminal until about 1:30 am. The cleaning crew was already cleaning the terminal! I told him I wanted a trip to Hawaii for 2. Do I have a case?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I had to file a second complaint with the airline's disabily dept bcuz no one had contacted me. An investigator finally got back to me. I explained what had occurred. He said he would conduct his investigation & get back to me asap. I left him a msg several days ago requesting the status of his investigation & he left me a msg advising me that he was still conducting his investigation. I left another msg yesterday requesting the policy & procedures for their investigation. Does he have a certain amt of time from the date I filed my complaint to conclude his investigation? Is there an amt of time that I have from the date of the occurrence to file a civil rights action?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Going to bed now. Can I continue this later today?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Sorry for all the typos, but I get so upset every time I relive that horrible experience. This was our 1st vacation as a family & it was ruined! My daughter & I have still not spoken!
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

1. Hi. Isn't the airline required to have a certain amount of wheelchairs available for their disabled passengers?

To ensure that people with disabilities would not be discriminated against in air travel, Congress passed the Air Carrier Access Act. Under the ACAA, all domestic and international flights with the US as its destination or origination are required to provide certain accommodations, free of charge, to people with disabilities in a way consistent with providing safe travel for all passengers. You may file a complaint with the Department of Transportation. Here are the two complaint forms: ONE TWO. I am not finding any law about a minimum number of wheelchairs.

2. Do I have a case?

Yes, you may as the airlines must provide travelers with disabilities with the following assistance at the airport, if requested by the passenger:

  • Carriers shall provide emplaning and deplaning. The delivering carrier shall be responsible for assistance in making flight connections and transportation between gates. § 382.39 (a)
  • This assistance shall include...the services personnel and the use of ground wheelchairs, on-board wheelchairs...and ramps or mechanical lifts. § 382.39 (a) (1)
  • Carriers shall not leave a passenger with a disability unattended in a ground wheelchair, boarding wheelchair, or other device, in which the passenger is not independently mobile, for more than 30 minutes. § 382.39 (a) (3)

3. Does he have a certain amt of time from the date I filed my complaint to conclude his investigation?

AA's policy appears to be that it will respond within 60 days.

More to come...

Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

4. Is there an amt of time that I have from the date of the occurrence to file a civil rights action?

That would depend on the type of claim which is alleged. There appears to be no private cause of action under the ADAA; but its standards can be used to establish a common law cause of action such as negligence, for example. This link may assist you further. I would file any suit within 1 year of the incident if it were me.

Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

Please see answers above.

Note: (1) Just Answer’s site disclaimers apply to all levels of service; (2) Most follow-up questions are answered with in the hour; however, if I am not signed on, please allow up to 24 hours; and (3) If we are done, please assign a feedback rating so Just Answer will compensate me. Thank you.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Can I file charges against the shuttle driver or the airlines for driving off while I was still standing to deliberately cause me bodily harm?
Can I file charges against the woman or the airlines for making me get off the shuttle, not allowing me on the flight to San Diego, using obscenities, & refusing to give me the opportunity to explain what had occurred?
Can I files charges against the cop or the airlines for detaining me for hrs. without my medications, food, drink, use of a restroom & making discriminatory comments (ie, Do u want to go to the psych ward?)?
Can I file charges against the cop's supervisor or the airlines for not affording me the opportunity to explain my side of the story & ask me "if I heard voices"?
Can I file charges against the main airlines' supervisor, John, for initially refusing to give me vouchers for a hotel & flight, even though vouchers were given to my daughter & he only changed his mind when I informed him that I would b filing discrimination complaints based on race, physical & mental disabilities?
Can I file charges against the airlines bcuz my wheelchair was taken away from me & given to a Caucasian man & I am a Hispanic woman?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I received a return call to my call (requesting their policies & procedures for conducting an investigation) from the airline's disability customer relations investigator. I was unavailable, so he left me a v/m msg. indicating that he will not discuss the details of his investigation with me until it's conclusion.
Every agency has policies & procedures they must adhere to. The courts will include them with the hearing notice. The State agency I retired from also includes pamphlets explaining policies & procedures. These policies explain how info is gathered, etc.
Can the investigator refuse to provide me with specific info (ie, Will he interview the passengers aboard the shuttle who witnessed how I was treated by both the shuttle driver & woman, who kicked me off the shuttle & refused to allow me on my flight to San Diego.)?
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

I can continue you to assist you with these follow-ups but will need for you to place add money to the account so that I may allocate more time to your question. I will send you an offer to do that. Please let me know when you have accepted it and I will be back to assist you in the morning. Thank you.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I'll have to think about it.Thank u.
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

Sure...take your time. No hurry...

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
my other inquiries r considered a new topic?
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

I am not sure. Your posts are so usually long that I did not take the time to read the second one. I hope you can understand that there is an opportunity cost for me to invest so much time in one person's inquiry.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok, but if I pay the addition $; what guarantee do I have that all my questions will b answered? U initially indicated that any additional questions would b @ no extra cost.
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

If you want, I can call you by phone to make sure you get your questions answered. If you decide to accept the offer, then after that come back here and input your phone number. Please know that JA's site disclaimers apply to the phone call as well.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Well, still unsure. I thought u were reading everything I sent u. It took a huge effort on my part to type all that, only for u not to read it.
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

Well, the offer is still pending. Please take all the time you need to make a decision. You may wish to try to get an appointment with a lawyer on this and see what they charge just so you can make a comparison.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I will seek my family's advice. Hopefully, if I do decide to consult with a civil rt's atty; his consultation will b free. The.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

Okay, that sounds like a plan.