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flyabunch
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Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 1:58 pm

First, let me say that I am not in any way directing this rant at legitimate disabled passengers who require a wheelchair to get to and from an airplane. My rant is with those who subvert the system for the sole purpose of early boarding.

I travel over 100,000 miles per year. I fly almost every week. Last week took the cake for most abusive use of wheelchairs I have ever seen. Two of my flights were to and from Central America from/to IAH. I watched three different people who were having no difficulty at all moving around in the boarding area...with their bags, ask for wheelchair assistance. They got them and of course, were given priority along with their oversized bags. And, those were just the one's I saw.

Same thing coming back. GRRR. I counted 12 people who boarded with wheelchairs. Upon arrival at IAH, there were 12 wheelchairs clogging the jetway. Only four of them were used. That means their was a 66% abuse rate.

The old story about flights from EWR to PBI comes to mind. Bunches of wheelchairs at EWR with hardly any used in PBI when the flight arrives. It seems to me that the problem is growing and I wonder if there is an answer. Perhaps a "disabled" ID? Is that going to far? I do not know. I throw it out for discussion.

Mike
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:06 pm

Quoting Flyabunch (Thread starter):

In the UK we have the Blue badge scheme which is also abused, hard to think of a way to clamp down on this
anti social attitude short of removing the offer to pre-board altogether.
Know how you feel, seen it many times myself.
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freakydeaky
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:16 pm

If there are ways to take advantage of a system - there's always a segment of the population willing to do it - in every aspect of life. It sucks for those of us who have dignity, morals, and have a care about the people around us. It sucks when people do this to us. Period.

That being said, I can't think of a way around this problem because it is illegal to question someone about their disability. Many times there could be a mental disability or something that doesn't seem obvious - so if someone asks for a wheelchair - they're going to get it. If it's a fradulent request - then they will have to deal with the bad karma fallout at some later point.
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could."
 
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sunking737
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:28 pm

I too have seen this. Its hard to believe but many people are wanna be's. They see an older person needing a wheel chair and soon....many need help. How about 12 people needing wheel chairs on board the plane, F/A tells Capt. he calls AOC, who in turn calls out on radio 12 assists. Guess what folks we get 12 chairs waiting. How many needed only 3, the others forgot they needed chairs.
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ltbewr
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:29 pm

Don't forget that some that are handicapped may not have obvious disabilities including heart, muscle, vision and respiratory that qualify for them wheelchairs and parking passes.
I would suspect some get handicapped designations from their doctors who may be too eager or corruptible to give a diagnosis of a need for a permanent or temporary handicapped pass. Then there are some with temporary disabilities (injuries) who keep the pass and continue to use it as well as 'borrow' passes of others with them to get the nice close parking places.
You also have people that pass along ways to game the system to get these advantages for them too. I bet a few here would love to find some way to make sure they get the aisle seat or a seat in a bulkhead or exit row too with the extra leg room or to get first dibs into the plane to get first dibs for the overhead space.
I am not sure how you deal with the abuse of handicapped access without making a big scene or too often going after ligament handicapped persons.
 
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na747
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:38 pm

If it's any consolation, we experience the same thing in MIA.
Many Central Americans request wchrs not because they're handicapped, but simply to have someone carry their overweight/oversized carryons.

Also, many of these wchr requests occur because the pax simply doesn't know how to get to their gate (U.S. airports are simply overwhelming to them compared to their usually small airports back home) or many don't know how to read.
Notorious destinations are GUA, SAL, TGU, SAP, LIM, GYE.

MIA-AA has tried futile attempts to combat this problem for many years, but it is difficult to deny a wchr request when trying to walk a thin line between breaking ADA rules or laws and actually needing a wchr. It's a difficult issue to solve.
But yes, most of these wchr requests are non-legitimate.
 
RP TPA
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:48 pm

I've written about this subject before. There's a really funny book called "Cabin Pressure" which was written by 2 American Airlines flight attendants. One story they write about concerns the JFK-MIA-JFK route. In the boarding area, prior to the flight, there would be over a dozen "feeble" passengers who looked like they were 5 minutes from death. They described it as looking like something out of Lourdes, France where the infirmed were waiting to enter the waters. When the flight arrived at the destination, these very same "feeble" passengers were miraculously cured, and would be seen pushing their way past everyone in the baggage claim area, picking up their heavy bags, and leaving!!!
 
NWBOS
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:48 pm

So true...it's amazing to see how many people are "healed" as soon as they clear customs after being rushed ahead of all of the other passengers in the queue. What's really shocking is that many of these people don't even tip the wheelchair assistant.
 
captaink
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:12 pm

Worse part of being a customer service agent. I mean I really did enjoy helping people who needed help. But sometimes we have a flight, typical VS51 from LGW, 12-14 wheelchairs. Miserable demanding people, and as soon as they see their bags on the carusel amazingly they can get up and pull it off.
Look Up
 
flipdewaf
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:25 pm

When I flew with VS (LHR-EWR) we had to change gates and their was a man who was not on the slim side (looked like a half deflated balloon) and he sid he had become to tired to walk and demanded a wheelchair. When we got to the other gate and did the whole boarding pass thing i wasnt allowed an isle seat even though I had a broken toe, my foot was all swolen and I was on crutches. The fat man in the wheelchair was then upgraded to business, I got really angered and shouted at the gate lady. I was told to calm down or I wouldnt be allowed on the plane. I had a miserable flight with my foot turning a funny colour and at the end on the flight fatty was the first to jump up and get through customs and be away whereas I was taken away and put in a little cold damp room for 3 hrs so that immigration could check me out.

Life really hated me on that day, but the vs peeps on board was super nice and let me keep things I wasnt supposed to take off the plane Special little bottles of wine etc. and theylet me put my foot in a bucket of ice.

Fred
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BHXFAOTIPYYC
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:42 pm

We had an Iranian client who always asked for one, and I assumed she was pretty elderly and in need. I'd never met her, only spoken on the phone. One day I recognised the voice at our bank, and so I asked if she was Mrs. XXX. Sure enough, after she'd been standing in line for 10 mins, she headed off to the Post Office next door, then her car with not so much as a limp, and about 20 years younger than I expected her to be!

Quoting NA747 (Reply 5):
Also, many of these wchr requests occur because the pax simply doesn't know how to get to their gate

I have to admit to considering using this as an option for a pax connecting thru VIE who didn't speak a word of English or German (couldn't read either as she only knows the Cryllic alphabet). Airlines never seem to confirm MAAS requests (meet and assist), but they always confirm WCHS.

Pax missed the connex anyway.
Breakfast in BHX, lunch in FAO, dinner in TIP, baggage in YYC.
 
RC135U
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:21 pm

People are always going to abuse these courtesies intended for truly disabled people. I used to manage a golf course where the handicapped parking spots were a stone's throw from the pro shop. A couple of enterprising members with cozy relationships with their personal physicians used them to obtain the requisite "Handicapped" tags from the state licensing agency. I would always look on in disgust when these people would park in the reserved spots and then load up their pull carts with their bags and head out to WALK eighteen holes.
 
AIR757200
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:27 pm

Just make them wait up to 30 minutes if you think they are abusers (which is usually totally obvious!!).. (like when they request one at the ticket counter say: "oh, OK, there's a bit of a wait for one, one should be in shortly." ..my understanding from the Compliance folks, a complaint of a passenger waiting more than 30 minutes will be investigated by the ADA.

It's like fat people requesting WCHR because they can't walk. Some exercise will do them good!
 
sk601
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:39 pm

Everytime when I fly to/from LAS I am amazed how many passengers need WCHR assistance. Funny thing is that "the elderly" have no problems walking up-and-down The Strip. Same for MCO (and thus WDW etc).

I used to work as a gate agent in AMS. A few destinations are known for the high number of WCHR pax, like YYZ, HYD, DEL, BOM, PBM, THR (now: IKA) and NCE. Some destinations have a very few WCHR pax, such as KIX and NRT. Can somebody explain?

I found out that passengers really in need of assistance are usually a bit ashamed to ask for it.

Anyway, I hope I never have to ask for WCHR/WCHS assistance for myself.
 
YYZYYT
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:00 pm

Quoting AIR757200 (Reply 12):
It's like fat people requesting WCHR because they can't walk. Some exercise will do them good!

I've heard of problems with people abusing handicapped parking passes, and I can see how some might try to abuse airline wheelchair service... but some of the stuff in this thread is WAY out of line.

I've known people who appeared fine, but had very limited mobility and tired easily due to conditions which were not apparent. I've know them to request a wheelchair in an airport, because they can be easily overwhelmed at the process of negotiating the temrinal and getting to the right gate. I've known people who were obese, but whose obestiy was caused by medication or other conditions.

I've known people who appeared to have no good reason to own a handicapped permit - such as my former neighbour who was a hydro linesman (big BURLY guy who could climb a hydro pole in a matter of seconds), and who drove a half-ton pickup truck with a handicapped permit in the windshield. You might well call him an #&&-hole of the highest order. Until you realized that the permit was needed because his 14 year old daughter had MS.

So, can we tone it down please?
 
BHXFAOTIPYYC
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:08 pm

Quoting SK601 (Reply 13):
Can somebody explain?

Might get flamed for this, but from what I can tell, the Japanese don't "do" disabilities. It's not a disabled friendly place, maybe something about punishment for wrongdoings in a past life?? I know that it was one thing Barrichello wasn't happy about in Japan was their attitude to one of his kids who is disabled.
Breakfast in BHX, lunch in FAO, dinner in TIP, baggage in YYC.
 
blueflyer
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:08 pm

Just to moderate some of the posts above, a relative of mine is a person who sometimes does not need the wheelchair waiting for her. Not because she abuses the system, but because due to her medical condition, walking what is for her long distance (say more than 5 gates in a row) is physically exhausting. Accordingly, she may turn down the wheelchair she requested if she is connecting and the two gates are in close proximity to one another. Out of courtesy for the other passengers, she will also never get on a wheelchair right off the aircraft but will instead walk off the bridge and out of the way first. Finally, once she gets to luggage claim, she will usually stand up and walk the short distance to the car-rental/parking shuttle. At airports that she knows well (such as DFW), if she is lucky, the gate will be close to check-in/exit and she will never need a wheelchair...

Admittedly, she rarely travels alone and she cannot carry anything heavier than a large purse without much efforts.

Bottom line, she tries to minimize her use of a wheelchair as much as possible, out of pride, desire to be self-sufficient whenever possible and courtesy for others who may be waiting for one. While there truly are some abuses out there, just because someone ends up not using a wheelchair from end to end does not mean they could have done without either...

(And frankly sometimes, there are snafus as well - more than once when traveling with her did two wheelchairs show up, one for her and one for me, even though I never requested, or needed, one)
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:11 pm

Quoting YYZYYT (Reply 14):
I've heard of problems with people abusing handicapped parking passes, and I can see how some might try to abuse airline wheelchair service... but some of the stuff in this thread is WAY out of line.

Well said, there's some blatant generalising in this thread that most wheelchair users are not genuine.

Quoting YYZYYT (Reply 14):
I've known people who appeared fine, but had very limited mobility and tired easily due to conditions which were not apparent. I've know them to request a wheelchair in an airport, because they can be easily overwhelmed at the process of negotiating the terminal and getting to the right gate.

Yeap, my Grandparents travel frequently and they are both well into their 80's, each have conditions which can cause them to need a wheelchair at some point. Most of the time though, they manage - when it comes to elderly persons, there is a sense of pride; that they will not let their age get the better of them. Still, after say a mile of walking through the airport there comes a time when you can't walk any more - breathlessness especially is a hindrance and goes hand in hand with many common heart conditions. After sitting on a plane though for several hours you are fine again to walk.

Just goes to show, you shouldn't tar everyone with the same brush, it's ridiculously arrogant.


Dan Smile
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
NWBOS
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:14 pm

Quoting YYZYYT (Reply 14):
So, can we tone it down please?

YYZYYT, your sensitivity is appreciated. I don't think anyone meant anything negative towards people who have a legitimate need for WCHR service. I think I speak for everyone when I say that after working at the airport for a few years, you begin to have a pretty good idea of who needs the service and who does not. Resources are wasted when passengers abuse the system, because it usually means that someone that truly needs assistance has to wait, or, worse yet, hobbles along without any service whatsoever.
 
davescj
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:20 pm

The fastest way to stop wheelchair abuse, it would seem, would be to board them last and have wheelchairs come off last. It could be ADA violation (dont' claim to know) but would seem to resolve the problem rather quickly. In no way would their rights be violated, and those who need them would only wait a few extra min. This would also avoid people trying to "move around" wheelchairs and crashing into them with oversized bags.

Just a thought.
Can I have a mojito on this flight?
 
b6flyboy
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:26 pm

LOL...that is what we call a "miracle flight." Somewhere around FL390 the miracle of healing occurred and all those wheelchair bound customers were able to walk again...some of them to the early bird special!

But seriously...yes some individuals do abuse it...obvious. However, for many that depart the northeast to come to say Florida the airports in the northeast are too large for them to navigate and the airports in Florida such as FLL or PBI are a shorter walk from aircraft to car. Further for the elderly it is easier to have a wheelchair attendant help bring that customer to the gate in a timely manor because with all the craziness that can occur in an airport such as security and gate changes...and when they arrive at their destination all that is left is just to exit...no time line to keep.

It is funny because I call flight from PBI to the northeast "heavy metal flights" because there are so many walkers and wheelchairs waiting in the jetbridge.
Your Seat Cushion Cannot Be Used As A Flotaion Device...
 
caaardiff
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 6:48 pm

It's probably the same all over the world.
Some people amaze me. But what i have noticed, its the ones that do actually genuinely need the assistance that want it with as little fuss as possible. Its the ones that dont need it that will kick up a fuss if the wheelchair takes a little too long, or has to wait their turn, or for all other passengers to disembark.
I have actually witnessed a gentleman with no legs, get out of his chair and make his own way down about 15 steps off his own accord,as there was quite a few wheelchairs waiting for the lift,. This wasn't down to having to wait, or anything else and whilst everyone else was quite surprised, it seemed little effort to the gent.
At airports i have worked at, where there is no porter system, its down to the handling agents. The staff are told they are well within their rights to refuse to push anyone (larger) who they feel they cant. And can also refuse to push any passenger that feels they can carry every possible large bag on top of the wheelchair passenger, whilst their companion tottles along with the duty free bag.

Ryanair had it right by charging for wheelchairs. I dont know if this is still in operation as there are new laws that have recently been introduced in the UK for disabled passengers.
Its amazing how 'some' people lug 2 or more cases from the house into the car, the car park into check-in and wonder through shop after shop in departures. Then cant manage a walk, half the distance, to get to their plane!

Standard practice in the airports ive worked in is first on, last off. And as people have mentioned, it seperates the genuine from the not so!
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 6:59 pm

Quoting SK601 (Reply 13):
Everytime when I fly to/from LAS I am amazed how many passengers need WCHR assistance. Funny thing is that "the elderly" have no problems walking up-and-down The Strip. Same for MCO (and thus WDW etc).

Believe me if they have a wheelchair at MCO, they certainly have one when they reach Magic Kingdom, as a wheelchair gives front of line privileges, not only for the occupant, but all their family as well.

I once witnessed a solution to the "problem". I was flying from Copenhagen - STN, on the then Air UK. An elderly miserable looking specimen, requested and received a wheelchair ride to the plane, with priority boarding. She drove the stewardess mad on the flight; which culminated in her leaping to her feet in an attempt to disembark 1st. The stewardess firmly told her to sit down and await her wheelchair, which would be along as soon as all the other passengers had disembarked
 
Mir
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:07 pm

Quoting FreakyDeaky (Reply 2):
That being said, I can't think of a way around this problem because it is illegal to question someone about their disability. Many times there could be a mental disability or something that doesn't seem obvious - so if someone asks for a wheelchair - they're going to get it. If it's a fradulent request - then they will have to deal with the bad karma fallout at some later point.

 checkmark  There are many people who really do need wheelchairs but whose disabilities are not visibly apparent, and it's not fair to them to blast people who don't look like they need wheelchairs for using them.

There will be people who abuse the system, and that's wrong, but in the big picture, it really doesn't make that much a difference, so let it go.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
ZRH
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:15 pm

No offence but this seems to be a US problem. There are too many too lazy too fat people which refuse to walk a few 100 meters. Here anyone who is not disabled or old would be very embarrassed to use a wheel chair.
 
halls120
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:21 pm

Quoting TPA" class=quote target=_blank>RP TPA (Reply 6):
When the flight arrived at the destination, these very same "feeble" passengers were miraculously cured, and would be seen pushing their way past everyone in the baggage claim area, picking up their heavy bags, and leaving!!!

As another poster noted, hopefully the karma genie will get even with those a*holes some time in the future.

Quoting YYZYYT (Reply 14):
I've heard of problems with people abusing handicapped parking passes, and I can see how some might try to abuse airline wheelchair service... but some of the stuff in this thread is WAY out of line.

No it isn't. Abuse of handicapped privileges happens all the time. I've seen what RP TPA describes on more than one occasion.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
luv2cattlecall
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:16 pm

WN flights from ORF to MCO are wheelchair city, which is understandable I guess since it's a snowbird destination. What really annoyed me was when an elderly grandpa had a "race" with his grandson/nephew/who knows what: The kid was on the moving escalator and the grandpa ran manually. When I was exiting the security area, I see the same guy getting pushed around in a wheelchair, skipping most of the lines, etc. I know I'm going to get flamed for this but I think Ryanair may have had the right idea back in the day when they were charging for them - though there should be a $5 cap, not the $28 FR was trying to get away with.
.
 
Analog
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:06 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 23):

checkmark There are many people who really do need wheelchairs but whose disabilities are not visibly apparent, and it's not fair to them to blast people who don't look like they need wheelchairs for using them.

There will be people who abuse the system, and that's wrong, but in the big picture, it really doesn't make that much a difference, so let it go.

The people who abuse the system hurt those that need wheelchairs. When the majority of wheelchair users get a miracle during the flight, people start assuming that anybody in a wheelchair is faking.

Quoting Luv2cattlecall (Reply 26):
Ryanair may have had the right idea back in the day when they were charging for them - though there should be a $5 cap,

That would be reasonable (make it explicit that no tips are to be given). Of course it'll never happen in the US.

Either that or make people in wheelchairs board last.
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:54 pm

One factor that seems to get missed is:
If a person going on holiday needs a wheelchair to get to the gate, surely they need one anyway, thus they should be in their own wheelchair, and not need one from the airport. I have a disabled sister, and a disabled brother in law. They are both fortunately mobile enough to not be wheelchair bound, but need them for long distances. Thus they take their own chairs to the airport, use them to the gate,the airlines fly them for free, and return them at the gate on arrival.
 
Analog
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:02 pm

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 28):

If a person going on holiday needs a wheelchair to get to the gate, surely they need one anyway, thus they should be in their own wheelchair, and not need one from the airport.

This probably applies to most legitimate wheelchair requests. However, there are people who can walk short distances, but have a lot of trouble standing for long periods of time (security, etc.) and walking longer distances.
 
pecevanne
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:09 pm

As an airline employee I have seen som many people that look for a wheel chair only for arrival.I have seen a lo of cases when SOME ASKE FOR THE SERVICE ONLY TO PASS THROUGH country inmmigration and customs.
I have requested my company to give disabled people a pass to get the wheel chair at origin because some aske for it just prior arrival. I have been working for 36 years and only happens during international arrivals.
regardsl
 
PiedmontINT
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:30 pm

Quoting YYZYYT (Reply 14):
I've known people who appeared to have no good reason to own a handicapped permit - such as my former neighbour who was a hydro linesman (big BURLY guy who could climb a hydro pole in a matter of seconds), and who drove a half-ton pickup truck with a handicapped permit in the windshield. You might well call him an #&&-hole of the highest order. Until you realized that the permit was needed because his 14 year old daughter had MS.

But is he parking in the handicap spots when he isn't with his daughter is the question.. If he is abusing the privilege then yes I would call him and A$$hole of the highest order.  duck 

But the abusing of wheelchairs even occurs in smaller stations. We had a guy who had required the straightback (!) to board his flight seriously pop out of his seat and jump down the airstairs into the terminal.. I had no idea what even happened! He just said, thanks, I dont need it, and bounded away!
 
dkf747
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:37 pm

Quoting Davescj (Reply 19):
The fastest way to stop wheelchair abuse, it would seem, would be to board them last and have wheelchairs come off last. It could be ADA violation (dont' claim to know) but would seem to resolve the problem rather quickly. In no way would their rights be violated, and those who need them would only wait a few extra min. This would also avoid people trying to "move around" wheelchairs and crashing into them with oversized bags.

As a real wheelchair user, I think is idea is in line with the "the fakers make it worse for the real wheelchair users." Boarding a wheelchair user takes more time than it does for a fake one. There is also the issue of room to transfer while other pax are in the way. It's a lot easier to pre-board them. BTW, a real wheelchair user is almost always the last one off the plane.


I was once the only true wheelchair user on a SK flight CPH--IAD with about 15 other wheelchairs. I got boarded first because I needed help.
 
Leezyjet
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:49 pm

Happens all the time at LHR too. Some people seem to think that WCHR=Priority service, which it does not then complain when they have to wait for a chair. Others (usually Americans) request an electric buggy, and when told that we don't have them and show them to the wheelchair, they refuse and walk so clearly just wanted priority service !!.

How do these people manage at shopping centres and the like, I'm sure they get around quite easily there, and what do they do on holiday ?. How do they manage to get around ?. How come they suddenly need a chair in the airport ?.

It is amazing what miracles can happen when people are told there will be a 40 minute wait for a wheelchair, or people that can suddenly walk as soon as they have passed through Customs !!.

Unfortunately if someone requests a chair, the airline has to provide one. They cannot accuse someone of not needing one !!

 Sad
"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
 
ManchesterMAN
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RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:19 pm

Quoting ZRH (Reply 24):
No offence but this seems to be a US problem. There are too many too lazy too fat people which refuse to walk a few 100 meters. Here anyone who is not disabled or old would be very embarrassed to use a wheel chair.

Happens here in Britain too ...

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=YcJfY3e6E6w
Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
 
EBGflyer
Posts: 637
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 5:05 pm

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:38 pm

I have a 'real' disability myself and I must say that although it happens that people take advantage of systems like this, I think it is generally the exception. I also think that you should have a look at how airport agents treat travellers who need assistance.

I'm wearing a prosthetic leg but when you look at me I do indeed look quite 'light on the foot'. However, I can't walk very far and sometimes in airports where I know there is a long way to walk or I know that there will be long lines of people waiting I do ask for assistance. Usually I only ask to get a lift to reduce the walking distance, but as soon as I have asked for assistance someone meets me with a wheelchair, which I often refuse to use, because I don't need it and I don't want to look more disabled than I already am.

So all I am saying is that people do not necessarily need the wheelchair, but it will be provided anyway as a part of the procedure giving assistance to less mobile passengers.
Future flights: CPH-BOS; CPH-SVG; CPH-PVG-HKG-MNL-DVO; CPH-CDG; CPH-NRT; CPH-MIA; CPH-PVG
 
hamad
Posts: 734
Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2000 6:29 am

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:06 am

my grandmother ha alzheimer's. she can walk, the problem is that she gets tired very quickly and starts panting. my mother bought her a wheel chair that we use for when we go out to the mall, or places where we have to walk long distances or when we go to Doha
PHX - i miss spotting
 
jmc1975
Posts: 3068
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2000 10:57 am

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:52 am

The most peculiar abuse of wheelchairs I've witnessed was at PHX one night when two teenage boys were playing around with one. One of the boys was pushing the wheelchair down the concourse, while the other one was sitting in it flapping his arms like he was a soaring eagle and belting out Melissa Manchester's 1978 smash hit "Don't Cry Out Loud" so it could be heard throughout the entire boarding area.

[Edited 2007-11-12 17:19:01]
.......
 
hiflyer
Posts: 1274
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:38 am

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:01 am

First off....yes there are abuses.

Secondly if a WCHR is ordered for one leg it is ordered for all legs. Very simply...an elderly pax boarding in LAX to transit ORD to go to PBI will receive a chair at all points....and will need it in the large terminals....but decline it on arrival PBI as it is a far smaller airport.
 
jetdeltamsy
Posts: 2688
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 11:51 am

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:19 am

This is just part of what we have to live with in a society like ours.

We give legal priority to those in need. To protect their dignity, we decide they don't have to "prove" their need, they simply have to ask.

It's something you'll never get around in our country.

It reminds me of a church in chicago last fall that had a "drive up" campaign providing free turkeys to those in need. The local media took dozens of pictures of Lincoln's, Cadillacs (Escalades seemed to be the most popular), Infinitis .. etc... in line to receive their free bird. Made me sick.
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
 
jcavinato
Posts: 392
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2005 9:14 am

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:19 am

Here at PHX is a particularly annoying practice of the Sky Caps yelling 'Wheel Chair coming through" in the security line. Everyone moves over and lets them through only to experience a slower than normal wait for getting through the machinery (from all the minutia of the required steps for such folks). These people are seated and comfortable, unlike the rest of us who've been in line for quite some time. The only person it really helps is the SkyCap who wants to get another customer and tip.
 
acvitale
Posts: 1913
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2001 8:25 am

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:07 am

I used to feel a bit frustrated with Wheelchairs. Three weeks ago had a condition that made it impossible to walk. Was on crutches. Long story short had to fly FLL-DTW-BWI/DCA-MSP-ATL-HNL-SLC-MSP-IAD/DCA-DTW-FLL over the period of a week....

After that trip, I was grateful for the wheelchair and will no longer critique others when they need them.
 
MQTmxguy
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2007 3:58 pm

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:23 am

YYZYYT,PlymSpotter,EBGflyer,

I think you guys misinterpret some of the opinions here. The legitimate disabilities you all speak of are not in question or under attack, in fact just the opposite.

The people in question are...oh lets say the 300 pounders who have no problem walking through the terminal carrying 2 giant hockey bags full of crap and a carry on, have no problem strolling down to the nearest snack bar, have no problem standing in the security line, and then stroll up to the gate counter and want you to straight-back them in to a friggin BE1! So you and the other agent, and the captain, and the FO stop what you are doing (because you definately had nothing better to do when you have 10 mintues until this plane is supposed to push) and perform the difficult manuever of loading this lazy ass into the plane (something akin to hauling a refrigerator up a flight of stairs only 1 foot wide.) At which point the PAX hops out of the chair and promptly demands the seatbelt extender, and that I contact MKE and tell them to have a chair waiting on their end (wchr was NOT in his PNR).

If you think this sounds like a first hand account, you are correct.

The point here is not that the person in question was overweight and therefore I was pissed I had to carry his fat ass into the plane, I've had to straightback big people that really needed it and I had no problem with it. It's that he made it through every other part of the check in/security/boarding process, but took advantage of us at the end of it so he wouldn't have to get in the plane or walk around Milwaukee under his own power. And to top it all off the station took a delay because of it.
Well at least we can all take comfort in the fact that NW will never retire their DC-9s
 
User avatar
WarRI1
Posts: 14195
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:51 am

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:31 am

It is sad to see such things, but who among us would challenge anyone in a wheelchair, not I and that is how these lowlifes who do these things get away with it.
It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.
 
RC135U
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 9:53 pm

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:59 am



Quoting ACVitale (Reply 41):
Long story short had to fly FLL-DTW-BWI/DCA-MSP-ATL-HNL-SLC-MSP-IAD/DCA-DTW-FLL over the period of a week....

That itinerary over the course of a week would probably knock a lot of folks for a loop...
 Wink
 
flyabunch
Topic Author
Posts: 446
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 1:42 am

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:24 am

Thanks all for your input. I see that many of us have had similar experiences. As several have stated, I was not questioning the truly handicapped individuals who I do not begrudge the help of a chair. I actually admire those people for having the courage to travel in spite of their disability. In previous generations, handicapped people were cast aside and forgotten. Now, they have the ability to lead a much more full life.

The one thing I forgot to mention in my original posting was that my biggest problem with the fakers is that they usually cause the flight to be late just because of the extra time it takes to board all of them. I congratulate Continental's performance last week as they boarded all those chairs at both ends without it causing a delay. On other flights, where the gate agents are working short handed, I have seen as few as three chairs cause delays.

Mike
 
Prinair
Posts: 638
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 1999 7:28 am

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:39 am

When a passenger requests a wheelchair I usually tell them " I will be happy to order the service for you, it will take a few minutes for someone to arrive in order to take you to the gate..."

I am always amazed at the number of "never mind, I will walk or take the electric cart..."

If they say "ok, I will wait", then they really need the wheelchair and I get it for them (never taking more than one minute to get it)
PRINAIR - Puerto Rico International Airlines
 
Halophila
Posts: 480
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 11:44 am

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:48 am

So couldn't this be resolved if carry-on baggage limits were enforced? I don't mind people boarding early with assigned seating. Ultimately so long as they're not taking up my seat (which they wouldn't be) and there is space for my laptop bag in the overhead, it doesn't bother me.
Flown on A36 310 319 320 321 332 333 343 388 350 707 717 727 732 733 734 735 73G 738 739 741 742 743 744 74SP 757 753 762 763 772 773 77W 787 D10 DC9 M11 M80 M87 CRJ CR7 CR9 CR1000 120 135 145 175 190 146 F28 F50 F70 F100 Tristar
 
WDBRR
Posts: 605
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 11:28 am

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:09 am



Quoting RP TPA (Reply 6):
I've written about this subject before. There's a really funny book called "Cabin Pressure" which was written by 2 American Airlines flight attendants. One story they write about concerns the JFK-MIA-JFK route. In the boarding area, prior to the flight, there would be over a dozen "feeble" passengers who looked like they were 5 minutes from death. They described it as looking like something out of Lourdes, France where the infirmed were waiting to enter the waters. When the flight arrived at the destination, these very same "feeble" passengers were miraculously cured, and would be seen pushing their way past everyone in the baggage claim area, picking up their heavy bags, and leaving!!!

I remember reading somewhere, maybe here about the boarding process
at Jetblue.... where they board the wheelchair pax last and everyone
jumps out of their wheelchairs to get in line first. They called it the
"Jetlblue Healing Hour"
 
ebs757
Posts: 620
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 11:45 pm

RE: Abusive Use Of Wheelchairs

Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:12 am

LOL
Viva la Vida

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