Uncaring and in Violation of DOT Regs

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Status
Not open for further replies.
Jan 24, 2019
6
0
1
74
#1
Purchased RT Flight from Sun Country Airlines MSP to MCO, for 90 y/o Mother (Disabled) only able to walk limited distance. Though cognizant, she is hard of hearing. Stated on her behalf on ticket that she would need w/c assist enplaning and deplaning This was complied with on enplaning at MSP. Upon deplaning at MCO from flight, she received no assistance from flight crew ensuring w/c transportation. Wheelchair transportation personnel listed her as "no show" and she was left alone sitting at the gate for two hours with no one around to seek help from, while family frantically searched for her outside security. There was no personnel at the gate to assist her,and when the flight crew deplaned, theyl walked right by her sitting alone. Family couldn't use ticket counter for assistant because it's only rented for boarding and then shuts down for other airlines to use.. Because she was hard of hearing, she did not hear repeated pages by family. She finally saw "cleaning lady" in the area and asked for help. Who contacted friendly mechanic (not Sun Country) who assisted her through to family. And also helped retrieve stored luggage behind security.
Filed complaint with Sun Country. Teresa Lawson of Sun Country Customer Service, responded by phone investigating incident. She initially and throughout emails directed the fault at the disabled passenger, stating she should have self-identified herself as disabled and/or sought help upon deplaning and no fault resided on the airline or the w/c attendants.
Therefore( I allege that) SunCountry violated the following Department of Transportation regulations applying to the disabled.
AOAA (DOT) 14 CFR Sec 382.39 requlations clearly state that airline "shall ensure" that assistance shall be provided if requested "by or on behalf" of disabled. (Which was done and stated on the ticket).
Sub Sec (a) states that the "carrier shall be responsible" for this assistance.
Part (1) "shall include, as needed, the use of services persnnel and" (equipment).
Part (3) "Carriers shall not leave a disabled passenger unattended ....or other device in which the passenger is not independently mobile, for more than 30 minutes."
I do not want an recompense from Sun Country as I will never use there airline ever again. It is a poor shadow of its former self. However the Public should be aware when they violate DOT regulations as I allege.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,102
14,698
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
You should certainly file a complaint directly with the DOT. In the future, someone should travel with your Mom. She seemed to need more than just wheelchair assistance if she could not hear being paged.

The airline had a responsibility to provide a wheelchair but they aren’t there as personal escorts. She must have been frightened.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,230
2,062
113
#3
I always wonder what would happen if a flight was cancelled or re-routed, what would the disabled passenger do then? They provide a wheelchair for the disabled person but where exactly do they take him/her if the next available flight isn't for another day? Airlines are not required to provide hotels if the cancellation is weather-related. They are not required to provide transportation outside of the airport, just from the gate to baggage claim.

While I understand your frustration, in this day and age, we need to rely on ourselves to get from point A to B without looking to the airlines regardless of what the DOT states the airlines are responsible for. I second Neil's suggestions of filing a complaint with DOT and consider traveling with your mom in the future to avoid this type of mishap. Peace of mind is worth more than any additional airline ticket.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,102
14,698
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#4
I always wonder what would happen if a flight was cancelled or re-routed, what would the disabled passenger do then? They provide a wheelchair for the disabled person but where exactly do they take him/her if the next available flight isn't for another day? Airlines are not required to provide hotels if the cancellation is weather-related. They are not required to provide transportation outside of the airport, just from the gate to baggage claim.

While I understand your frustration, in this day and age, we need to rely on ourselves to get from point A to B without looking to the airlines regardless of what the DOT states the airlines are responsible for. I second Neil's suggestions of filing a complaint with DOT and consider traveling with your mom in the future to avoid this type of mishap. Peace of mind is worth more than any additional airline ticket.
Actually this is what the airline is required to do according to the Air Carrier Access Act:

https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/passengers-disabilities

Airlines are required to provide assistance with boarding, deplaning and making connections. Assistance within the cabin is also required, but not extensive personal services. Where level-entry boarding is not available, there must be ramps or mechanical lifts to service most aircraft with 19 or more seats at U.S. airports with over 10,000 annual enplanements.

It sounds like the airline employees who were on that flight need additional training and a DOT complaint will require the airline to answer.
 
Likes: Patina
Jan 24, 2019
6
0
1
74
#5
Although mother was 90, now 91 y/o she is alert and lives alone in a senior building. Does her own cooking, laundry, etc. Except for the physical limitations, she is quite capable of traveling alone. The trip was for a cruise and she and friend went on excursions on their own. At the airport, she was limited only by the inability to walk long distances and finding her way through the terminal at MCO. I have the same problem finding my way through that airport. She knew she was supposed to be picked up, but thought "they were busy" She had a cell phone and tried to call, but there is no/poor signal at MCO.
I simply chose the wrong carrier.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,673
7,471
113
San Francisco
#6
I always wonder what would happen if a flight was cancelled or re-routed, what would the disabled passenger do then? They provide a wheelchair for the disabled person but where exactly do they take him/her if the next available flight isn't for another day? Airlines are not required to provide hotels if the cancellation is weather-related. They are not required to provide transportation outside of the airport, just from the gate to baggage claim.

While I understand your frustration, in this day and age, we need to rely on ourselves to get from point A to B without looking to the airlines regardless of what the DOT states the airlines are responsible for. I second Neil's suggestions of filing a complaint with DOT and consider traveling with your mom in the future to avoid this type of mishap. Peace of mind is worth more than any additional airline ticket.
Patina is so right ... doesn't matter what the "rules and procedures" are, nobody can count on airline personnel to take care of someone who needs assistance. If someone cannot speak up for themselves and ask for help, they are not capable of travelling alone. I know people who get confused finding their way through a busy airport, but they just ask someone for help. We have received posts like this in the past, and it's a heartbreaking situation. While you would think that the crew would have noticed her and stopped to help, they didn't. It's your mother who suffered here, plus her poor family on the other side of security trying to find out what happened to her. Someone who cares needs to accompany anyone with any kind of disability who cannot advocate for themselves at the airports or on the plane. I'm so sorry this happened to you all and I hope you will pursue the matter with SunCountry.
 
Sep 19, 2015
3,817
5,011
113
48
#7
Patina is not being mean but realistic. If there is a delay with the wheelchair staff what happens? A passenger needs to speak up and ask. If the passenger cannot hear their name being called then what happens? Was their a notation that the passenger is hearing impaired?

How did your mother leave the aircraft? Sometimes sitting out in the plane is the best tactic as the Fa cannot leave until every passenger is off the aircraft.

I do think a complaint should be made but one has to be proactive to minimize stress.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,230
2,062
113
#8
"Sometimes sitting out in the plane is the best tactic as the Fa cannot leave until every passenger is off the aircraft."

This is a great suggestion; they cannot ignore you if you don't get off the plane.
 
Likes: AMA
Jan 24, 2019
6
0
1
74
#10
Although in my opinion, Sun Country acted inappropriately, their Customer service has been very informative. I found out I could have requested a pass to take mom thru security at MCO and MSP which we did for the return trip. Daughter taking Mom to gate witnessed many disabled in w/c waiting for transport to gates (families should be aware their relatives are routinely left unattended beyond security). If Mom left in that que, would have missed flight. My general opinion is that air travel has degraded to the level of livestock shipments. Just compare a trip from the ticket counter onto the carrier to travel thru a cattle pen into the truck. It's just a matter of time before the flight attendants board and seat everyone, strap them in, then leave the aircraft and at destination, another crew will board for deplaning.
 
Mar 29, 2016
55
78
18
59
#12
A wheelchair should have been provided, and may have been. While the airline is responsible, most of these services are contracted out. In my experience, wheelchair assistance is waiting in the jetway, not out at the gate. If your mother left the plane of her on volition and did not rermain seated, it's possible that she passed by her wheelchair service. That she has hearing issues exacerbated the problem. Given her limitations, it genuinely sounds like she needed a companion in order to travel. It's unrealistic to expect the airline to assist to the level of companion.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,102
14,698
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#13
Although in my opinion, Sun Country acted inappropriately, their Customer service has been very informative. I found out I could have requested a pass to take mom thru security at MCO and MSP which we did for the return trip. Daughter taking Mom to gate witnessed many disabled in w/c waiting for transport to gates (families should be aware their relatives are routinely left unattended beyond security). If Mom left in that que, would have missed flight. My general opinion is that air travel has degraded to the level of livestock shipments. Just compare a trip from the ticket counter onto the carrier to travel thru a cattle pen into the truck. It's just a matter of time before the flight attendants board and seat everyone, strap them in, then leave the aircraft and at destination, another crew will board for deplaning.
Again- have you filed a DOT claim?
 
Jan 24, 2019
6
0
1
74
#14
You are entitled to your opinion, but you were not there and do not have all the facts. We were told they took someone in a wheelchair out to the curb. In which case I was running back and forth outside the terminal. looking for her wire my wife was at the door she would have to exit. Evidently an elderly lady on the aircraft left first while mom was being assisted by the aircrew, saw the wheelchair, thought "How nice" and sat in it. The person simply took that person to the curb. Thanks for thinking of ideas, but it's easy to speculate and you have remarkable hindsight. Then again , you were not there. To say she passed by the wheelchair in the jetway when she was expecting one is absurd. She's hard of hearing, not blind.
I am waiting for a reply from the independent CRO before I file a complaint with U.S. Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer Protection Division, 400 7th Street, SW., Room 4107, C–75, Washington, DC 20590.
 
Sep 19, 2015
3,817
5,011
113
48
#15
You are entitled to your opinion, but you were not there and do not have all the facts. We were told they took someone in a wheelchair out to the curb. In which case I was running back and forth outside the terminal. looking for her wire my wife was at the door she would have to exit. Evidently an elderly lady on the aircraft left first while mom was being assisted by the aircrew, saw the wheelchair, thought "How nice" and sat in it. The person simply took that person to the curb. Thanks for thinking of ideas, but it's easy to speculate and you have remarkable hindsight. Then again , you were not there. To say she passed by the wheelchair in the jetway when she was expecting one is absurd. She's hard of hearing, not blind.
I am waiting for a reply from the independent CRO before I file a complaint with U.S. Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer Protection Division, 400 7th Street, SW., Room 4107, C–75, Washington, DC 20590.
So someone else who had not reserved a wheelchair took the wheelchair that was ordered for your mother?

Do they verify the passenger names? I suppose someone could say yes it is for me and just take it..
 
Jan 24, 2019
6
0
1
74
#16
Recall that two hours elapsed looking for her. I I was looking through the "A" and "B" sides of the terminal, inside and outside. Wife was at security exit. However there is a monorail between the gates and there. (Besides security) So I couldn't go further. I was told by w/c personnel that a lady was taken outside from the plane to the curb, and I was directed outside and while walking back and forth, talked several times to curb attendants and the police, who each time asked if we found her. They were given a discription and were looking for her as well. In addition to the Information desk staff.
Whether the other person requested a w/c is unknown. I saw her outside initally. W/C assistance was on mothers ticket. Yet she was listed as a "no show". The aircrew was responsible to assist her to the jetway, and the w/c should have been there. But responsibility avoidance (there's another phrase for it) was and still is rampant. Through all this chaos, my mom was sitting quietly at the empty gate. As I have stated previously, both w/c personnel and carrier have placed the blame entirely on 90y/o mother for this situation.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.