tom18 over on the Fodor’s forum wrote an informative trip report describing in detail he and his wife’s observations about Air France’s A380 premium economy service and product on a trip from Dulles to Paris. As part of his report tom18, who describes himself as a “gimpy geezer” also shared how well Air France handled his lack of mobility and the amazing service he received from the wheelchair staff as they whisked him around the airport – through security, to the luggage pickup, wherever he needed to go he got there quickly and efficiently.
Which got me to thinking … I wonder if anyone would abuse the wheelchair service?
To clarify, tom18 absolutely DID NOT abuse the service. He suffers from legitimate mobility issues and used the service appropriately. It was just that when I was reading about how quickly they got him and his wife through security, and just generally how he and his wife didn’t have to figure out how to get to places they needed to be in unfamiliar airports, well, it makes you think.
The airlines offer the service free of charge, and they don’t require anyone to prove that they need a wheelchair. Knowing those two things, and knowing how some people are, it would be surprising if some people haven’t abused the wheelchair service at some point.
And after a bit of Googling, sure enough, The New York Times wrote an article on the very subject a couple of years ago.
In the ongoing debate amongst frequent flyers about how far is too far to push the rules I typically fall on the side of “if it isn’t illegal or against the rules, it’s fair game,” but anyone who would abuse the wheelchair service just to get through security faster or to be allowed to board first is a low-life in my book. For these people I propose some form of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” testing.
For those of you unfamiliar with the movie, Steve Martin plays a con man faking paralysis below the waist. Michael Caine plays another con man whose goal is to out-con Martin.
Hilarity ensues … in this scene in particular:
Of course, this test wouldn’t work, but I imagine creative and diabolical minds could come up with something that would.
What do you think? Am I wrong? Is it ok to request a wheelchair to receive the benefits that come along with it? Have you/would you take advantage of this “benefit”?
Read tom18’s terrific Air France A380 Premium Economy trip report in its entirety: Gimpy Geezer and Wife Fly Air France A380 Premium Economy from DC to Europe