A disgruntled Southwest Airlines passenger has taken to social media to air his frustration at fellow fliers who he thought were abusing the wheelchair boarding privilege.
The passenger, who goes by the Twitter handle @trendready and calls himself Paul, posted this image, calling the scene a “pre-boarding scam”. He said that of the 20 passengers using wheelchairs, only three will actually need a wheelchair to deplane.
The passenger’s exasperation grew when a family of five boarded before him because of one family member in a wheelchair. He said that based on his boarding pass, he should be boarding first.
In a succeeding tweet, the passenger also said: “Notice how she stands up and walks onto the plane,” referring to the traveler in pink. In the first photograph the passenger in pink is seen using a wheelchair but is seen standing and waiting to board the plane in the second.
Paul made it clear that he does not want to hinder anyone who legitimately needs wheelchair assistance, but wants to try a solution that does not burden wheelchair passengers.
His tweets were met with mixed reactions, with some calling him a “cheap Karen” and commenting that while the situation is frustrating, he is not in any position to medically judge whether a passenger really needed a wheelchair or not because many disabilities are not seen.
Others replied with solution proposals, such as the requirement of medical certificates to be presented to airlines before being given wheelchair service. Others proposed a “deposit” for every wheelchair passenger, which will be collected at the destination.
There were others who agreed with Paul, sharing that they’ve flown with a big group that was allowed to board first because they were traveling with one wheelchair passenger.
Southwest Airlines replied to Paul’s tweets, saying that its pre-boarding policy is in compliance with the Department of Transportation’s Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).
Over the last month, video clips of a rude wheelchair passenger at an airport have been shared on social media.
In the footage the still-unidentified passenger, who claims to be handicapped, can be seen treating airport staff quite poorly.
Ironically, the passenger was filming the video in an attempt to cover herself, believing that she was the one receiving shabby treatment.