Frontier Airlines CEO Suggests ‘Penalty’ on Widespread Abuse of Airport Wheelchair Assistance

By Trisha Andrada

May 24, 2024 02:41 AM EDT

airport wheelchair

(Photo : CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle has called for action against the misuse of special services in the airport, stating that many people are lying about needing this assistance.

'Rampant Abuse' at Frontier Airlines

During a Wings Club luncheon in New York on Thursday, May 23, Biffle mentioned the widespread and rampant abuse of special services in the airport and added that some wheelchair users really do not need them.

According to CNBC, Biffle had seen Frontier flights on which 20 individuals were given wheelchairs before takeoff, but only three of them used them when they landed.

Biffle was referring to the assistance that airlines provide to passengers upon their arrival at the airport. Notably, airlines are obligated to make available wheelchairs to customers with disabilities at the airport under the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986.

The abuse, however, appears to affect the businesses and even the other passengers. Biffle said that every customer's request for a wheelchair costs that company $30 to $35. It also causes delays for genuine disabled customers who actually need assistance.

Meanwhile, there have also been instances of special service misuse when passengers try to utilize wheelchair assistance to get through the airport more quickly.

Then-CEO of London's Heathrow Airport, John Holland-Kaye, told LBC Radio in 2022 about a viral travel hack on TikTok, suggesting that passengers use wheelchair assistance to bypass security lines.

READ NEXT: American Airlines Blaming 9-Year-Old Girl for Being Secretly Recorded in Aircraft Lavatory; Mother Expresses Strong Disapproval

Call to Action

Biffle is calling for action against the abuse of wheelchair service.

He advocated for a penalty similar to parking in a handicapped space. "You park in a handicapped space, they will tow your car and fine you. There should be the same penalty for abusing these services," he said.

John Morris, an amputee and the founder of Wheelchair Travel blog, believes that abusers ought to face consequences. On the other hand, he mentioned that imposing would be challenging since disabilities are not always visible.

READ MORE: TSA Issues Apology for Unannounced Cuban Delegation Visit to Miami Airport

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