Lisa Judd | October 3 2013 1:03 EDT
ForexTV.com (New York) by Lisa Judd
Should individuals with disabilities be charged for checking luggage? It has been brought to my attention when my good friend was traveling to Seattle, Washington. He is paralyzed and requires the use of a wheelchair to get around. When he arrived at the airport he was told he would be charged to check his luggage even though he is not capable of taking a carry-on bag with him (he cannot carry one he needs his arms to push his wheelchair.
I reviewed several major airlines baggage service charges including United Air, American, Delta, Southwest, US Airways, and JetBlue. First class passengers do not have to worry about the weight of their bags or charges for checking their luggage. Active military are not charged for checked baggage or get a discounted rate. But if you are physically handicapped and are not able to carry your luggage you are charged the full rates.
The average rates for checked baggage is: $25 for the first bag, $35 - $100 for the second bag, and $150 for any additional items. jetBlue allows your first bag to be checked free as long as it is within the size and weight requirements (62” overall and no more than 50 pounds).
Airlines/airports are required to have a customer resolution officer (known as CRO) on duty at all times. Any person who has a conflict with airline personnel should ask to speak to a CRO immediately, and one should be made available shortly.
Even looking through the Air Carrier Act it states that an airline cannot discriminate against a person with a disability and they should attempt to accommodate them as long as it does not put anyone in harm’s way or vary from airlines protocol. Unfortunately this was written in the late 1990’s and amended in 2003 prior to the airlines charging extra for checked baggage.
Looking at the tickets prices for economy with checking 2 bags it may come as a surprise, but you may be better off getting a first class ticket. With first class they do not weigh your bags and there is no charge to check them. You get to board the flight first and get better service and a nicer meal.
For a wheelchair bound traveler, pre arrangements need to be made for pre-boarding, transfer to an airline chair and checking your wheelchair at the gate.
All airlines request the disabled traveler give them as much information about their needs prior to their trip in order to assist them in the best way they can.
[Don’t assume anything. The more information we have about needed services and equipment, the better we can work out a plan to make your trip stress free.] Delta.com
What do you think should someone who is physically unable to carry luggage onto a plane have to pay a fee to check luggage in?