The US Department of Transportation fined Virgin America $150.000 for making safety videos non accessible to deaf passengers.
On September 10, the U.S. Department of Transportation fined Virgin America $150,000 for failing to make its in-flight safety video accessible to passengers with hearing loss. The airline also was ordered to cease and desist from further violations.
Headquartered in Burlingame, California, Virgin America operates a fleet of 53 aircraft to 23 destinations. British businessman Richard Branson’s Virgin Group owns 25% of Virgin America.
An investigation conducted by Aviation Enforcement Office found that since beginning scheduled service in October 2007 Virgin America used its in-flight entertainment system to present the pre-flight safety briefing but failed to ensure that the video was accompanied either by open captioning or an inset for a sign language interpreter. This is a violation of 14 CFR Part 382, which is part of its regulations implementing the Air Carrier Access Act, requiring video safety briefings to be accessible to passengers with hearing impairments.
Following the fine, Virgin America has agreed to add high-contrast captioning to its video by Sept. 30, 2013.
In 2012, The U.S. Department of Transportation fined Virgin America $100,000 for disability complaint violations. During a routine inspection at Virgin America’s corporate headquarters in July 2011, the Aviation Enforcement Office discovered that, in a number of cases, the airline failed to provide a written response that addressed the consumer’s complaint.