This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

What Are My Rights When Airline Mistakes Cause Harm?

Question from Church, What Are My Rights When Airline Mistakes Cause Harm?

Answer from AI:

When you face a situation where an airline’s mistake leads to missed flights, physical harm, and additional expenses, it’s crucial to understand your rights and the steps you can take to seek redress. The scenario described involves several issues, including failure to provide requested disability assistance, wrongful unchecking and deletion of wheelchair assistance from the booking, and the subsequent financial and physical harm suffered.

Understanding Your Rights

Airline Passengers with Disabilities
In the United States, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) prohibits discrimination against passengers because of their disability. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) enforces this law, which includes requirements for airlines to provide assistance, such as wheelchair service, to passengers with disabilities.

– Read more about the ACAA on the DOT’s website.

Denied Boarding and Flight Delays
While the ACAA covers disability assistance, other regulations address issues like denied boarding and flight delays. However, compensation for delays and missed flights primarily depends on the airline’s policies rather than federal law, except in cases of “involuntary bumping.”

Steps to Take

1. **Document Everything**: Keep records of your original booking, any requests for assistance, communications with airline staff, and any expenses incurred as a result of the incident.

2. **File a Complaint with the Airline**: Initially, address your complaint directly to the airline. Include all relevant details and request compensation or reimbursement for your expenses and any distress caused.

3. **Report to the Department of Transportation**: If the issue involves failure to provide disability assistance, you can file a complaint with the DOT, which oversees compliance with the ACAA.

4. **Seek Legal Advice**: Given the complexity of your situation, including physical harm and potential discrimination, consulting with a legal professional who specializes in aviation law or disability rights might be necessary. They can provide personalized advice and help you understand your options for pursuing a claim.

Legal Considerations

When seeking compensation or filing a complaint, consider the following legal aspects:

– **Negligence**: The airline’s failure to provide the requested assistance and the subsequent actions that led to your injury and financial loss may constitute negligence.
– **Discrimination**: If the airline’s actions can be shown to have discriminated against you based on your disability, you may have a claim under the ACAA.
– **Contract of Carriage**: Review the airline’s contract of carriage (available on their website), which outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the airline and passengers. It may contain relevant information on how disability assistance and flight disruptions are handled.


While the situation you’ve described is distressing, there are steps you can take to seek redress and compensation. Documenting everything, filing complaints with both the airline and relevant authorities, and consulting with a legal professional are key actions. Remember, laws like the ACAA are in place to protect passengers with disabilities, and you have rights that airlines are required to respect.

Note: This information is intended as a general guide and not specific legal advice. Laws and regulations may change, and individual circumstances can vary greatly. For personalized advice, please consult a legal professional.

For more information on the rights of air travelers in the U.S., visit the DOT’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection.

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