by: JOAN LOWY Updated:
The Department of Transportation says it has fined US Airways $1.2 million for failing to provide adequate wheelchair assistance to passengers in Philadelphia and Charlotte.
The fine is one of the largest assessed by the department in a disability case.
Federal rules require that airlines provide free, prompt wheelchair assistance to passengers with disabilities, including helping passengers to move between gates to make connecting flights.
The department said Monday that US Airways' use of a combination of electric carts and wheelchairs to carry passengers between gates required frequent transfers and led to long delays. Some passengers missed connections or were left unattended for long periods.
About 300 passenger complaints filed in 2011 and 2012 relating to incidents at airports in Philadelphia and Charlotte were examined.