Passengers are pretending to need wheelchairs to avoid airport lines, according to Heathrow’s CEO.
John Holland-Kaye told LBC that it’s due to people using a travel hack that they’ve seen on TikTok.
Demand for the airport’s wheelchair support team had increased “significantly,” Holland-Kaye said.
The CEO of one of the world’s busiest airports said that some passengers are exploiting a TikTok travel hack, where able-bodied people pretend to need wheelchair support, as a means of bypassing travel chaos.
John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow Airport, told the Leading Britain’s Conversation (LBC) radio station that the airport has as many people working in its passenger support team as it had before the pandemic. However, demand for the team had increased “significantly,” he said.
“We have more demand than we had before the pandemic,” Holland-Kaye said. “Some of this is because people are using the wheelchair support to try to get fast-tracked through the airport. That is absolutely the wrong thing to be doing.”
He added: “If you go on TikTok, you’ll see that it is one of the travel hacks that people are recommending.”
A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport told Insider that the trend has been reported as happening at other airports. “It’s is obviously something we don’t condone which is why John brought it up today,” they said.
Amid a summer of travel disruption, delays, and flight cancellations — caused by widespread labor shortages that have left aviation firms stretched at peak times — stories have emerged of some disabled passengers being caught up in the disruption at various airports.
Holland-Kaye was responding to a claim by the host that disabled passengers were having to wait for mobility support at Heathrow’s third