Frontier Airlines CEO Pushes For Regulation Of Airport Wheelchair Service Due To ‘Rampant Abuse’

Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle expressed concerns Thursday about misuse of wheelchair services offered by airlines, highlighting a growing problem within the industry, CNBC reported.

Speaking at a Wings Club luncheon in New York, Biffle said many passengers request wheelchair assistance at the start of a flight, but fewer seem to need it upon arrival. He has observed, for example, that 20 passengers need wheelchairs to board a plane but only three use them at their destination. according to To CNBC.

“There is widespread abuse of our special services. They are being used by people who don’t need wheelchair assistance at all,” Biffle said, according to the media. “We are healing so many people.”

Biffle argues that such abuse not only costs money (he puts it at $30 to $35 a trip), but also causes delays for passengers who genuinely need the assistance, CNBC reported. Biffle’s comments reflect broader concerns about the integrity of services for travelers with disabilities and come amid debate about how to better regulate and manage such assistance. (Related article: Britain’s Got Talent wheelchair dancer dies at 52, cause of death unknown)

Ground staff and people in wheelchairs wait for Indonesian Muslim pilgrims to disembark from a passenger plane after arriving at Sultan Iskandar Muda International Airport in Brambintan. (Photo: CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images)

“Anyone who needs it should have the right to it, but if you park in a handicapped space, your car gets towed and you get fined,” he told CNBC. “There should be similar penalties for those who abuse these services.”

These discussions come in the context of recent proposals by the Department for Transport to introduce tougher regulations. RulesThese are intended to prevent damage to wheelchairs by airport ground staff and ensure prompt assistance to travelers with disabilities.