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Tuesday 4 June 2024

American flyers fake disabilities to get early boarding

American flyers have been accused of faking disabilities and pretending to need wheelchairs in order to get early boarding privileges.

Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle this week called for a clampdown on wheelchair assistance "‘imposters".

He called out "rampant abuse" of wheelchair assistance requests, claiming many passengers are gaming the system, news portal Travel Mole reports.

He says many people are requesting wheelchairs who do not physically require them.

“There is massive, rampant abuse of special services," Biffle said. "There are people using wheelchair assistance who don’t need it at all.”

Biffle said penalties should be imposed on people who abuse the system in the same way drivers are when using disabled parking spots to which they are entitled.

He cited a Frontier flight where about 20 people were taken to the departure gate in wheelchairs but only three from the same flight required one on arrival.

The US Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 forbids airlines from discriminating against disabled travellers.

Former London Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye previously called out passengers abusing the passenger assistance service "to get fast-tracked through the airport" which he said impacted travellers with genuine disabilities.

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