Airline discrimination complaints up 37 percent

More people are reporting instances of discrimination by airlines, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

As part of its monthly Air Travel Consumer Report — which also includes data about flight cancellations, mishandled baggage and on-time delays — the DOT said it was releasing the data on reports of airline discrimination as concerns rise about the treatment of passengers. The data includes complaints of treatment based on ancestry, color, national origin, race, religion and sex.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The DOT found that there were 67 complaints from January to September this year, up from 49 complaints for the same period last year¬†— a rise of 37 percent.

RELATED: Should you clap when your plane lands? Take our poll

For the first nine months of this year, there were 52 complaints regarding race, eight regarding national origin, four regarding sex, two regarding religion and one regarding color.

Six of those complaints were received in September: three regarding race, two regarding national origin and one regarding religion. This is down from eight in September 2015 and 15 in August of this year.

The DOT investigates all allegations of discrimination against airlines to see if a violation has occurred.

RELATED: Canceled flights at an all-time low

 

 

 

How JetBlue made history this morning with flight to Cuba

Seth Miller, New York, is the first passenger to board a commercial flight to Cuba in over 55 years at Fort Lauderdale International Airport on August 31, 2016. JetBlue has started service to Santa Clara, Cuba. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Seth Miller, New York, is the first passenger to board a commercial flight to Cuba in over 55 years at Fort Lauderdale International Airport on August 31, 2016. JetBlue has started service to Santa Clara, Cuba. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

There were cheers and balloons as JetBlue sent off its first regularly scheduled flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Santa Clara, Cuba — the first such flight between the U.S. and the island nation in more than 50 years.

Among the guests on the flight: U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Although about half of the 150 seats on the plane were occupied by journalists, many travelers said they were making a pilgrimage-type journey to visit family, or explore their birthplace.

That was the case for Domingo Santana of Miami, who came to the United States in 1968.

Planning the trip was made even more special, he said, because he bought the first ticket for the flight.

Domingo Santana of Miami was the first passenger to buy a ticket on JetBlue's flight to Cuba Aug. 31, 2016. (Kristina Webb/ The Palm Beach Post)
Domingo Santana of Miami was the first passenger to buy a ticket on JetBlue’s flight to Cuba Aug. 31, 2016. (Kristina Webb/ The Palm Beach Post)

“It’s historic not only that it’s the first flight … but I also get to discover the country where I was born,” he said. “This is my first time going back home.”

Santana’s tip for those hoping to go to Cuba: If you have a Cuban passport, be sure to use that name when booking your flight.

Mark Gale, CEO and president of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, said he’s proud of his team and JetBlue.

The airline accounts for about a fifth of all flights at the airport.

“To have that very, very first flight come out of our airport is a great honor,” he said.

Fort Lauderdale’s airport is host to more weekly trips to Cuba than Miami — something Gale said is “a testament to the reputation of Fort Lauderdale.”

Read more here.