Fakers Use Wheelchairs to Dodge Airport Lines
Workers say they've seen people stand up in front of them
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Oct 4, 2012 3:43 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – When security lines get long at Kennedy International Airport, workers brace themselves for a rush of wheelchair requests. A lot of passengers have realized that because no actual proof of an ailment is required to request a wheelchair, anyone in a hurry can do so and zip straight to the front of the line, workers tell the New York Times. One wheelchair pusher says she's seen customers blatantly step out of line in front of her and ask for a chair.

Many keep right on rolling until they get on the plane, since passengers in wheelchairs board first. This happens so often that flight attendants refer to "miracle flights," in which as many as a dozen passengers board on wheelchairs, then leave on foot. "Not only do we serve them beverages and ensure their safety—now we're healing the sick," one attendant quips. But airlines seem content to let some cheaters through. "We respect our passengers," says a spokeswoman for one industry group, "and we trust their integrity."

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Showing 3 of 74 comments
mebekili
Nov 23, 2012 11:19 PM CST
I have a severely herniated disc in my lower back.... bad enough that if triggered I fall over. I can walk if I do so at a fast enough clip to keep the disc from becoming compressed, but I cannot walk slowly, nor stand still for more than about 2 minutes without triggering my back. So yes, I take a wheelchair when getting on a flight. Otherwise I end up crippled for the rest of the trip. And yes, if there's no security line, I walk through -- why take a wheelchair if I'm not at risk of my disc compressing and my doing a face plant? And I get off the plane at the other end on my own, unless my back has been triggered/set off, in which case I have to take the wheelchair getting off of the plane as well. It's a pain -- both literally and figuratively. But now I also have to deal with people making idiotic ASSumptions that I don't need the chair, just because they can't SEE the problem? REALLY?!?!?!?!? Believe me, I'd rather be able to stand in line like I used to without crippling myself by doing so. I would have no problem with doing so if it didn't cause excruciating pain to do so and potentially leave me messed up and semi-immobilized for days afterward. Between people talking to you like you've suddenly regressed to the mental age of a 6-year old when you're in the chair, and the embarrassing feeling of your own body having turned traitor on you and not working as you think it should -- taking a wheelchair is bad enough -- now those of us who need to do so also have to deal with judgmental twits who because they don't have all the facts, think it's up to them to judge you badly?
KooKooforCocoPuffs
Oct 11, 2012 2:08 PM CDT
I've seen this many, many times. It's disgusting and infuriating. I've even had elderly relatives brag about how they've done this. People should have to prove their illness, as well as, prove they can legally park using a handicapped hanger. I've seen the handicapped thing abused over and over as well. Damn, how lazy and self-serving does one need to be?
right2dave
Oct 9, 2012 10:44 AM CDT
SCUM!