[nfbwatlk] FW: [Blindtlk] McCarran International Airport Discriminates AgainstBlind Passengers

Humberto Avila hum4avila_71 at fastmail.fm
Thu Mar 31 21:43:08 CDT 2011




11:03:20 -0500

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



CONTACT:

Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

<mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org





McCarran International Airport Discriminates Against Blind Passengers




National Federation of the Blind Files Suit Over Inaccessible 
Kiosks



Las Vegas, Nevada (March 30, 2011): The National
Federation of the Blind and four blind
individuals-Alan and Billie Ruth Schlank, Joyce
Pratt, and Mark Adreon-who frequently fly or plan
to fly to and from Las Vegas through McCarran
International Airport, have filed a class-action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for
the District of Nevada against Clark County,
Nevada; the Clark County Board of Commissioners;
and the Clark County Department of Aviation,
which administers McCarran International
Airport.  McCarran uses common-use self-service
(CUSS) ticketing kiosks that employ a visual
touchscreen interface without any auxiliary aids,
such as a voice guidance program, and therefore
cannot be used by blind passengers.  Passengers
who are able to use the kiosks can access
information about flights, check in for flights,
print tickets and boarding passes, select seats,
upgrade to business or first-class cabins, check
baggage, and perform other transactions relevant
to their air travel plans.  CUSS kiosks are
unique because they are owned or controlled by
the airport instead of by individual airlines and
allow passengers to access most of the airlines
operating at McCarran from any machine.  The suit
alleges that the defendants are violating the
Americans with Disabilities Act and the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 because the benefits
provided to travelers through these kiosks are
not available to blind visitors to the
airport.  McCarran could easily add an audio
interface, a tactile keypad, or interactive
screen reader technology that works with
touchscreens to its kiosks, or purchase kiosks
with these features, but has neglected to do
so.  McCarran has also refused to respond to the
plaintiffs' offer to work collaboratively on
implementing available technological solutions.



Dr.  Marc Maurer, President of the National
Federation of the Blind, said: "Blind passengers
have always experienced discrimination in air
travel, but the fact that airports like McCarran
are now deploying inaccessible technology to
perform routine travel functions is the greatest
threat to the privacy and independence of blind
air travelers that we have seen.  Airports and
airlines are engaging in this blatant
discrimination even though the technology to make
kiosks accessible is readily available, has been
deployed by others, and involves little
cost.  Instead of enjoying the features and
convenience of these kiosks, including a quicker
and more convenient check-in process, blind
passengers must either wait in long lines at the
ticket counter or share personal information with
strangers in order to use the kiosks.  We will
not tolerate a separate and unequal experience
for blind travelers and demand that the
defendants cease their discrimination against us as soon as 
practicable."



Plaintiffs are represented in this matter by
Daniel F.  Goldstein, Gregory P.  Care, and Timothy
P.  Elder of the Baltimore firm Brown, Goldstein,
and Levy; Laurence W.  Paradis, Karla Gilbride,
and Kevin Knestrick of the Berkeley firm
Disability Rights Advocates; and Eric Taylor of
the Las Vegas firm Alverson, Taylor, Mortenson & Sanders.





###





About the National Federation of the Blind

With more than 50,000 members, the National
Federation of the Blind is the largest and most
influential membership organization of blind
people in the United States.  The NFB improves
blind people's lives through advocacy, education,
research, technology, and programs encouraging
independence and self-confidence.  It is the
leading force in the blindness field today and
the voice of the nation's blind.  In January 2004
the NFB opened the National Federation of the
Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and
training center in the United States for the blind led by the 
blind.













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