As I was doing some research for an Emerging Horizons article, I made a rather troubling discovery on the Delta Airlines website. I was doing a follow-up article on airlines that now accept approved portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) aboard their flights and I was fact checking my information on Delta’s policies. Although Delta has many of the same rules that other carriers do (which are actually mandated by the FAA for safety reasons) they also have an additional requirement.
Delta requires that POC passengers complete a medical screening process administered by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, prior to approval to travel (which I’m kind of OK with). Delta also charges a $25 non-refundable medical screening fee for this service. That’s the part that really bothers me.
I understand that nothing is free in life and that Delta does have to pay for this medical screening, but in my mind it just sounds like they are charging disabled customers more. Well, they are, $25 more to be exact. In fact, I don’t find this policy any different from Ryanair’s former policy of charging some wheelchair-users for airport wheelchair assistance. I say “former” because British courts found it to be illegal.
So why is it legal in the US, where we supposedly have stricter access laws? Or maybe it isn’t? After all it wouldn’t be the first time an airline tried to slip in some illegeal surcharges to an unsuspecting public.
Perhaps it’s time that we speak up on this issue. If Delta can get away with this, then what’s to stop another airline for charging for the use of the aisle chair?
Food for thought.