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Sign of a Sick Society: Many of the People in Airport Wheelchairs Could Be Part of a Disgusting Scam

  Have you been witness to a popular social-media scam? If you’ve been in an airport and seen a suspicious number of travelers in wheelchair...

 Have you been witness to a popular social-media scam? If you’ve been in an airport and seen a suspicious number of travelers in wheelchairs, you might have.

According to CNBC, the CEO of a major ultra-low-cost carrier was the latest airline executive to call out what he says is a common practice: Able-bodied individuals using wheelchairs meant for the disabled.

Thanks to the 1986 Air Carrier Access Act, airlines are required to provide wheelchairs for those who need them. However, according to the CEO of Frontier Airlines, plenty of travelers are faking disability or injury to get someone to wheel them to or from their flight.

“There is massive, rampant abuse of special services. There are people using wheelchair assistance who don’t need it at all,” Biffle said Thursday during an industry event in New York City, CNBC reported.

Biffle told the crowd that he’d seen some flights with 20 wheelchairs present at departure, with only two or three upon arrival at destination.

“We are healing so many people,” he quipped.

Now, there might be legitimate reasons for the disparity between wheelchair use at different ends of a flight, as John Morris — a triple-amputee who founded — noted to CNBC.

For instance, at bigger airports like New York City’s LaGuardia or Dallas Fort-Worth, it may be daunting for those with disabilities to make it through the airport. Smaller cities or airports may not present the same challenge, he said. So, for passengers taking off from a major airport and landing at a much smaller one, a wheelchair might not be necessary at the destination.

“Disability impacts people in a lot of different ways,” Morris told the outlet.

“I think there’s a good case to be made that abusers should face some consequence, but I’m not sure how we do that in a society when our disabilities aren’t [always] visible,” he added.

But that isn’t what Biffle was talking about. And he’s not the first person in the industry to remark on the trend.

Back in 2022, for instance, London Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye told a British radio outlet, as the U.K. Mirror reported, that travelers were “using wheelchair support to try to get fast-tracked through the airport.”

“If you go on TikTok, that is one of the travel hacks people are recommending,” he told LBC Radio. “Please don’t do that. We need to protect the service for people who need it most.”

And, as he pointed out, this is something that’s gone viral on social media as of late:

Disability may impact different people in different ways, but not that differently.

This is the sign of a sick society — the idea that taking advantage of a wheelchair meant for the disabled is a “travel hack,” not shamefully dishonest behavior.

It’s sad that we should be such a low-trust society that we start to consider asking those in wheelchairs for their credentials and banning those who have a history of faking it.

Yet, that’s exactly what one is tempted to do here. Perhaps a goodly dose of shame heaped upon these malingerers thanks to Biffle’s comments — combined with the reminder that getting on a wheelchair won’t get a traveler to the destination any quicker — will be all it takes for TikTokkers to take their pathetic wheelchair-hack videos down.

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