British Airways 747 at gate
Image: Pexels
April 15, 2016

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has fined Air France, Lufthansa, and British Airways for not adequately responding to complaints filed by passengers with disabilities.

Air France and Lufthansa were each fined $200,000 and British Airways was fined $150,000. All three airlines were also ordered to cease and desist from future similar violations.

"When air travelers file complaints with airlines, they deserve prompt and complete responses that appropriately answer their specific concerns," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We will continue to take enforcement action when airlines violate our rules protecting the rights of passengers."

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) prohibits airlines from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Under USDOT rules, airlines are required to provide a written dispositive response to a written complaint alleging a violation of the ACAA within 30 days of receipt of the complaint.

The fines against the airlines came after several on-site regulatory compliance inspections conducted by the USDOT's Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings. Inspectors reviewed a number of disability-related complaint files and found that, in many occasions, Air France, Lufthansa, and British Airways failed to provide adequate responses to passenger complaints.

The full consent orders in this case can be viewed at—search for docket number DOT-OST-2016-0002.