In September 2016, Nicole MacKenzie and her family were not allowed to pre-board their flights so that they could wipe down the seating area before general boarding. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) found that the refusal to allow the to pre-board their flights was a violation of ACAA’s provision that allows pre-boarding for disabilities.
In December 2018, AA did change its allergy policy, and now will allow customers, specifically those with peanut and tree nut allergies, to pre-board for wiping a seating area.
June 7, 2019 – Arlington, VA – The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) applauds the warning the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued to American Airlines in response to American Airline’s denial of the right to pre-board a family of a child with food allergies. However, AAFA calls on the USDOT and Congress to take even stronger actions to protect the rights of airline passengers with allergies and all disabilities.
“American failed to provide the MacKenzie family their rights that are clearly defined by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA),” stated Kenneth Mendez, the president and chief executive officer of AAFA. “However, a warning from the USDOT is not enough to address this grievance. Congress must take action to give families like the MacKenzies the ability to take legal action to protect their rights.”
Specifically, AAFA has endorsed The “Airline Passenger Bill of Rights” introduced in the 115th Congress by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ed Markey (D-MA) that would reinstate the right of passengers with disabilities to sue airlines in federal court for denying basic access. Under current law, those with a medical disability who feel they experienced discrimination from an air carrier can only file a complaint with the USDOT. Unfortunately, the private right of action provisions included in this legislation were ultimately not adopted as part of the ACAA.
“We look forward to working with the offices of Senators Blumenthal and Markey to reintroduce a new Airline Passenger Bill of Rights that contains important protections for passengers with allergies,” stated Mendez.
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