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Old Jun 21, 12, 1:58 pm   #1
 
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Was this woman running a "wheelchair scam?"

I was arriving DFW yesterday on a Delta flight in first class. A rather large woman was sitting in seat 1B. Upon landing, she started to get up, when the flight attendant cam over and said "you can sit down if you like and I can have the wheelchair brought on after every one has deplaned." The wheelchair user said, "No, I'd just prefer to stand." Following this, she started grabbing her large, heavy bags out of the overhead compartment.

Once we got off, she said to the wheelchair porter, "I'll just meet you at the top of the jetbridge." At this point, she transferred all her bags to the wheelchair, which he then pushed (fully-loaded) up to the departure lounge.

She then got in the wheelchair, he had the bags, and he proceeded to wheel her the short distance to the baggage claim area. At this point, she handed the guy a few bucks, and said "I think I can manage from here." She then collected a heavy bag from the baggage carousel, and took off walking at a good clip with her baggage in tow-- out the door.

...?
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Old Jun 21, 12, 3:51 pm   #2
 
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It's possible she has one of those "hidden disabilities".
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Old Jun 21, 12, 8:51 pm   #3
 
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The miracle of flight strikes again. People never cease to amaze me!
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Old Jun 21, 12, 9:19 pm   #4
 
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Sounds like DL 173's final TPAC segment. Usually 40+ wheelchair assisted pax are wheeled onto the 744 at NRT and miraculously many of them deplane under their own power pushing people out of the way despite announcement for them to stay put and wait for the chairs.
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Old Jun 23, 12, 10:32 am   #5
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Well that woman has found a plan that works for her.

When my injured leg was at its worst both in looks and performance, I often had to beg for help when traveling. I was covering up the damage with dress slacks. Learned that letting the damage show got me better help. People took it more seriously that I needed help.

Now the same leg sets off the TSA machines (no metal in leg) and requires a pat down.

When they ask if it hurts (before patting) I tell them an honest 'yes'.
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Old Jun 23, 12, 7:45 pm   #6
 
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It's hard to believe that someone would do that. I'm of the opinion that she did, indeed, have some type of disability that prevented her from being on her feet any length of time. If she had lower body problems (legs, hip) that doesn't necessarily mean she doesn' have upper body mobility would account for the fact that she can get her overhead baggage just like anyone else.

Bobette
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Old Jun 24, 12, 8:10 am   #7
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I don't know how many people are running a wheel chair scam. Sometimes things do appear suspicious. There may be reasons we don't understand.
Once I had to travel a bout 10 days after abdominal surgery, which advised me to not bend for six weeks. The airline suggested that the best way to handle TSA would be to ask for wheel chair assistance, my wife could wheel me to the TSA checkpoint, get me through the security and on to gate. She could do any bending necessary for going through security. I had no trouble walking. At my connection in DTW, they had already ordered a wheel chair. I told the FA that I could walk. But she insisted, she was very nice, that I should use the wheel chair, as I needed it. She had heard my wife tell TSA guys that I had just had surgery. Through out that trip I was offered a wheel chair when I felt I didn't need it. If you are in a wheel chair, you get whisked through security, unless of course there are many wheel chair passengers.

That said, I know of one person, personally, who asked for a wheel chair because it makes here feel "privileged" to not have to walk, to be able to board. Her husband was feeble and probably did need a wheel chair. The couple, who had never travelled by air before, did not know that wheel chair assistance was available. Their children asked for wheel chair assistance for the husband. When the wife saw how her husband was "pampered", she decided she was unable to walk too.

Another example that might look like a scam. I arrived at JFK and was met by Delta's DM meet and greet person. I deposited my bag after customs for my onward connection. I told the TSA guy at the security that I could not stand with my shoes off due medical reasons. They always send for a secondary pat down and send my shoes through Xray after I have been able to sit down and take my shoes off. But one TSA detail at at JFK had a different idea. They demanded a doctor's certificate, which I did not have. I told them what is done at other airports and that I am told that a doctor's certificate was not needed. A supervisor was called and he sided with the staffer. I was told I WOULD not clear security unless I took my shoes off. The Delta rep was watching this as I was being harassed. He came over to talk to the supervisor, he refused to budge. The Delta rep got on the phone and talked to someone. He asked me to follow him. I thought this was going to get ugly. After we got away from the TSA check point, he told me we would go through another gate, and just in case I were harassed at the other gate too, he asked for a wheel chair even though I told him I didn't need it.
Here, I have described three incidents, in two of which I was personally involved, when wheel chairs were used, but were not necessary.
I think people have caught on that using a wheel chair speeds things up and it is used for that purpose too. I am sure, there is some abuse. I can't say how much.
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Old Jun 24, 12, 7:18 pm   #8
 
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People seem to think that using a wheelchair has benefits. I'd gladly trade places with anyone who wants to use my chair. I'd love to be able to stand in line again.

I've posted before, but a few years ago, there were 30+ people in wheelchairs waiting for one flight I was on. I was the only one who couldn't get up and walk when it was time to board. I was pre-boarded because of the need for assistance. The others were pre-boarded too, but every one of them walked to their seat. Seeing that bothered me, but I'm sure some of them were for real.
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Old Jun 25, 12, 10:23 am   #9
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Yes, I do agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeafFlyer View Post
People seem to think that using a wheelchair has benefits. I'd gladly trade places with anyone who wants to use my chair. I'd love to be able to stand in line again.

I've posted before, but a few years ago, there were 30+ people in wheelchairs waiting for one flight I was on. I was the only one who couldn't get up and walk when it was time to board. I was pre-boarded because of the need for assistance. The others were pre-boarded too, but every one of them walked to their seat. Seeing that bothered me, but I'm sure some of them were for real.
That said when my leg was at its worst I was able to seat myself. I had to major issues when using it: it hurt! and fall risk.

I did have falls and some close calls but mostly at home when I was trying to do something that I wasn't really ready to do. At one point in my own property I had to telephone my husband for help after getting into a situation I could not solve.

I've learned not to judge people's reasons for asking for assistance. I should have asked more often!
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Old Jun 26, 12, 2:01 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpenny16 View Post

I've learned not to judge people's reasons for asking for assistance. I should have asked more often!
You're probably right, but it is not easy to resist judging when there are so many fakers out there.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 10:38 am   #11
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Here is the problem.
There are three types of wheel chair users at airports.
  1. People with nearly no mobility at all. If it were not for a wheel chair, they would not be travelling.
  2. People whose mobility is impaired but can get about without a wheel chair with various degrees of difficulty. This forms a continuum. This also includes people who are recovering from an accident or surgery.
  3. People who have discovered "perks" of a wheel chair. In a world where elite travel perks, such as, priority lines, priority boarding and seating, are visible, some people have found a way to get the perks they want via a wheel chair. For them a wheel chair is a privilege or a valet service.
Often, there is no fool proof way to judge or distinguish among them, at least not until they start walking. Trying to distinguish can land one in legal trouble.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 12:11 pm   #12
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Yaatri, so true!

In the USA it is in fact illegal to ask what a person's problem may be.

However elsewhere in the world, the questions are asked and often to a great degree.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 1:14 pm   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpenny16
Yaatri, so true!

In the USA it is in fact illegal to ask what a person's problem may be.

However elsewhere in the world, the questions are asked and often to a great degree.
You are right tjat it's illegal to ask a petson about their disability, it does not prevent some jerks to insist anyway. They not only ask what it is but also ask you to produce proof, "How do I know you are not lying!".
I was told tha I would nit be allowed to go through the security ar that checkpoint unless I had proof. The Delta "meet & greet" rep for DM's was watching. So he ordered a wheel chair and took me through another checkpoint, even though I would have preferred that he fougjt foe me.
Our own federal agencies don't follow our laws. Other countries don't have the same laws, but have been treated more respectfully. sometimes I am often asked to show my leg, as I wear a knee brace without being offered private screening. In Japan, they offer me private room. In other countries, they take my word that I have a knee brace, and don't ask me to "show" it to them.
Laws mean little when people, especially those with a little power, choose to not obey thise laws.

In other countries, I have seen fights errupting. In one case, a woman was pushing her an older woman in a wheel chair to take her through security. A person behind me in the the queue objected to that because, he felt only the wheel chair bound, not the accompanying person, could bypass the queue. Others joined in an aggressive manner to force her to join the queue. When my attempts to convince them failed and it looked like it was going to turn ugly, I git tjr attention of an offucial to allow them to proceed to the front of the line. Bothe women were foreign and did not speak the local language. Some travellers figght aggressively, any way they can to seek and preserve "advantage" over others and view every one going around the queue with suspicion.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 6:09 pm   #14
 
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It's illegal for the airline to ask, but not for most others.
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Old Jul 12, 12, 10:32 am   #15
 
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One should never assume they are able to diagnose anyone's ailments from the outside. People who use wheelchair service may be doing so for a variety of issues that are not visible, e.g. pain, balance issues etc. Never judge anyone until you've walked a mile in their (wheelchair!)
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