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Passengers skipping queues by pretending to need wheelchairs, says Heathrow boss

Airline passengers are skipping queues at Heathrow by pretending to need a wheelchair after watching a video on TikTok, the airport’s boss has revealed (Andriy Popov/Alamy Stock Photo/PA)
Airline passengers are skipping queues at Heathrow by pretending to need a wheelchair after watching a video on TikTok, the airport’s boss has revealed (Andriy Popov/Alamy Stock Photo/PA)

Airline passengers are skipping queues at Heathrow by pretending to need a wheelchair after watching a video on TikTok, the airport’s boss has revealed.

The west London airport’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, described this as “the wrong thing to be doing”.

He told LBC: “For passengers requiring wheelchair support we have more demand than we had before the pandemic.

“Why is that happening? Some of this is because people are using the wheelchair support to try to get fast-track through the airport.

John Holland-Kaye
John Holland-Kaye said pretending to need a wheelchair at an airport is ‘absolutely the wrong thing to be doing’ (Yui Mok/PA)

“That is absolutely the wrong thing to be doing.

“We need to protect that for the people who most need help.”

“If you go on TikTok you’ll see that that is one of the travel hacks that people are recommending.

“Please don’t do that.”

A video showing a passenger skipping queues at Ibiza Airport, Spain, by feigning injury to get a wheelchair has been viewed 2.5 million times on TikTok.

The man is shown standing up and walking away after the flight.

Mr Holland-Kaye added that about half of arriving passengers who request assistance only do so once they are on the plane.

He urged people who “really need the service” to let Heathrow know “well in advance so we can make sure there are enough people there to meet your needs”.

Many travellers using the airport this summer have faced long queues, with the situation blamed on staff shortages.

A cap on daily departing passenger numbers was introduced earlier this month to ease the pressure.