Passengers Using TikTok Wheelchair Hack to Skip Lines

  • Passengers pretend to need wheelchairs to avoid airport lines, according to the chief executive of Heathrow Airport.
  • John Holland-Kaye told LBC that it was because people were using a travel hack they saw on TikTok.
  • Holland Kaye said demand for the airport’s wheelchair support team had increased “significantly”.

The CEO of one of the world’s busiest airports said some passengers are taking advantage of the TikTok travel hack, in which healthy people pretend to need wheelchair support, as a way to bypass the travel chaos.

John Holland Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow, told leading British broadcaster LBC that the airport had as many people working on the passenger support team as it had before the pandemic. But he said demand for the team had increased “significantly”.

“We have more demand than we had before the pandemic,” Holland Kay said. “Part of this is because people are using a wheelchair to try to get fast tracking through the airport. This is absolutely the wrong thing to do.”

“If you go to TikTok, you’ll see that it’s one of the ways to travel that people recommend,” he added.

A Heathrow spokesperson told Insider that this trend has been reported as occurring at other airports. “It’s clearly something we don’t condone and that’s why John brought it up today,” they said.

Amid travel disruption, delays and flight cancellations – due to widespread labor shortages that have left airlines stretching at peak times – stories have emerged of some disabled passengers falling into the trap of disruption at various airports.

Holland-Kaye was responding to a claim from the host that disabled passengers have to wait for mobility support at Heathrow’s third terminal.

The CEO was speaking on the day the airport released its semi-annual results. In the six months ending June 30, 2022, 26.1 million passengers passed through the center, compared to 3.9 million passengers in the same period in 2021.

In July, the center capped the number of passengers per day at 100,000 through September 11 and asked airlines to proactively cancel flights to reduce turbulence and pressure on ground crews.

In a half-year results report, the company said it has employed 1,300 people in the past six months and will have a similar level of security resources by the end of July as in pre-pandemic times.

The airline cited a lack of baggage handlers as its main drawback. “We estimate ground carriers have no more than 70% of their pre-pandemic resources, and there has been no increase in numbers since January,” she said in the findings.

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