Settlement with On-line Travel Companies a Major Victory for Disabled Travelers
Expedia Inc. and its subsidiary Hotels.com are two of the world’s leading online travel companies. As the result of a class action lawsuit brought by Chavez & Gertler, Public Justice, and Disability Rights Advocates, disabled travelers who use those websites can now search for lodgings that have the accommodations they need – such as accessible entry ways, roll-in showers, and telephone equipment for the deaf. The two travel companies have also for the first time adopted procedures enabling consumers to request and reserve hotel rooms with the access features they require.
Our lawsuit, filed on behalf of AXIS Dance Company and dancers Bonnie Lewkowicz and Judith Smith, both wheelchair users, alleged that the travel company’s failure to provide such services deprived individuals with disabilities of equal access to travel discounts and packages available to non-disabled people, and thus violated California’s anti-discrimination laws.
Expedia reports that since the changes were implemented in August 2009, it has published accessibility options for more than 15,000 hotels, and the Expedia.com call center has received 500 requests per week utilizing the new web features.
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