Airports Battle Bogus Requests for Wheelchair Assistance (WSJ):
It happens regularly, airport officials say. A traveler requests a wheelchair, gets pushed to the front of the security line and screened—and then jumps up out of the chair and rushes off into the terminal. "We call them 'miracles.' They just start running with their heavy carry-ons," said wheelchair attendant Kenny Sanchez, who has been pushing for more than 14 years.
Wheelchair assistance is a vital, widely used airport service, making travel feasible for the elderly and people with disabilities, injuries or limited capability to navigate long airport distances. The 1986 Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines to provide free wheelchair service to anyone who requests it. No description or documentation is required. Related Video MarketWatch's Christopher Noble and Jim Jelter discuss which U.S. airports offer the best services for business travelers.
Airports across the country say more able-bodied travelers have figured out they can use wheelchairs for convenience, making waits a lot longer for travelers with genuine needs.
At Los Angeles International Airport, airlines and companies that provide wheelchair service estimate 15% of all requests are phony, said Lawrence Rolon, coordinator for disabled services for Los Angeles World Airports. Airport officials estimate nearly 300 wheelchair requests a day are bogus. "It's just a big mess,'' Mr. Rolon said. "Abusers are really impacting the operation.''
Seinfeld Episode 157 The Butter Shave:
JERRY: You got the job?
GEORGE: Jerry, it's fantastic. I love the people over there. They- they treat me so great. You know they think I'm handicapped, they gave me this incredible office, a great view.
JERRY: Hold on, they think you're handicapped?
GEORGE: Yeah, yeah, well, because of the cane. You should see the bathroom they gave me!
JERRY: How can you do this?
GEORGE: Jerry, let's face it, I've always been handicapped. I'm just now getting the recognition for it. Name one thing I have that puts me in a position of advantage. Huh? There was a guy that worked at the Yankees-- no arms! He got more work done than I did, made more money, had a wife, a family, drove a better car than I did.
JERRY: He drove a car with no arms?
GEORGE: All right, I made up the part about the car, but the rest is true. And he hated me anyway!
JERRY: Do you know how hard it's getting just to tell people I know you?