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US Airways Fined For Stranding Some Wheelchair Passengers at PHL Airport

File photo (credit: Chip Somodelvilla/Getty Images)

File photo (credit: Chip Somodelvilla/Getty Images)

John McDevitt John McDevitt
John McDevitt has been a reporter and editor at KYW Newsradio 1060...
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By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The US Department of Transportation has fined US Airways $1.2 million for failing to provide adequate wheelchair assistance to disabled passengers in Philadelphia and Charlotte, NC.

The fine is one of the largest assessed by the department in a disability case, and the airline says it has already put changes into place to address the problems.

About 300 US Airways passengers complained in 2011 and 2012 that they were left unattended in the terminals for long periods of time or missed connecting flights when assistance was needed to get from one gate to another via wheelchair or electric cart.

Since that time, US airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher says, improvements have been made, with more to come.

“We are investing $2 million per year in continuous enhancements to our technology, staffing, and training,” he told KYW Newsradio today.  “This will build on the success of our recent improvements and ensure that our customers with disabilities have a positive travel experience on our airline.”

The airline says some of the revisions include special markings on boarding passes indicating needed assistance, and employees being equipped with devices that track customers’ wait times and the availability of personnel and wheelchairs.

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