Want to avoid waiting in sometimes atrocious security lines at the airport? Just ask for an airline provided wheelchair and you can skip the line in no time, even staying in it through boarding, since people in wheelchairs get to board first.
While airlines originally began providing wheelchairs to help disabled passengers, the modern airport experience where long lines, delays, and invasive security screening are the norm cause people to find new ways of getting through faster, reports The New York Times.
The loophole is allowed because there is no proof of a disability required to request an airport wheelchair. The practice is reportedly endorsed by a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy held by the wheelchair pushers, who occasionally receive tips.
Flight attendants are so used to seeing the practice on certain routes — like to the Philippines, Egypt, and the Dominican Republic — that they’ve dubbed them “miracle flights.” Kelly Skyles, a flight attendant and the national safety and security coordinator for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (representing American Airlines) stated:
“We’d say there was a miracle because they all needed a wheelchair getting on, but not getting off. Not only do we serve them beverages and ensure their safety — now we’re healing the sick.”
The Atlantic Wire’s Adam Clark Estes remarks about the practice:
“Once again, this is a horrible thing to do. Like stealing an old lady’s seat on the subway or pushing a child out of the way to catch a fly ball, nobody likes the conspicuously selfish one. Even Disney World caught wind of this wheelchair scam and had to start issuing special passes to people who legitimately could not wait in lines, for health reasons or otherwise.”
Oftentimes, these people will request a chair to go through security but then say things like, “Ma’am, I feel better — I can go by myself.” Others go even farther, staying in the wheelchair until they get onto the airplane.
Have you seen someone use a wheelchair just to get through security? Would you consider doing it?