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‘Widespread abuse’: Frontier Airlines passengers using wheelchair service to cut pre-boarding lines

New York Post report Frontier Airlines passengers are reportedly using the airline’s wheelchair service to skip long boarding lines.

CEO Barry Biffle said:[t]”There is widespread abuse of special services here, with wheelchair assistance being used by people who don’t need it at all.”

Frontier, like other airlines, operates a first-come, first-served policy when it comes to seating, so wheelchair access allows you to board the plane before other passengers and choose your seat before other passengers.

“Anyone who needs it should have the right to it, but if you park in a disabled space your car will be towed and you will be fined.”

According to the report, Biffle said he saw 20 people in wheelchairs board the plane, but only three of them required wheelchair service to deplane.

“We heal a lot of people,” he said casually.

CNBC report Wheelchair service costs $30 to $35 per passenger, and overuse of the service is thought to delay the arrival of travelers who genuinely need assistance.

“Anyone who needs it should have a right to it, but if you park in a handicapped space, your car will be towed and you will be fined,” Biffle said. “There should be similar penalties for those who abuse these services.”

But Biffle isn’t the only executive to have noticed this trend: In 2022, John Holland-Kaye, then CEO of London’s Heathrow Airport, reportedly said that amid staffing shortages, some travelers were “using wheelchair assistance to speed through the airport.”

“Using TikTok is one of the travel hacks people are recommending,” he continued. “Please don’t do that. We need to protect the service for those who need it most.”

The airline told Fox Business:[t]”There has been a widespread practice of passengers using wheelchair services to get to the front of security and gain priority boarding on planes.”

They further stated that “TSA and airlines are in a difficult position when it comes to managing this issue.”

Some passengers have reportedly faked injuries to access wheelchair services.

“We’re thrilled to be working with WheelchairTravel.org’s founder, triple amputee John Morris,” said.[d]Ability affects people in different ways.”

“I think it’s fair to say that abusers should face some kind of punishment, but I don’t see how that can be achieved when disability is not recognised by society.” [always] It’s visible,” Morris concluded.

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