TikTok ‘travel hack’ blamed by major airport chief for delaying disabled passengers

A travel hack popularized on social media is causing some disabled passengers to wait even longer to board a plane at London’s Heathrow airport.

Whether it’s hour-long lines to check in or flights canceled at short notice, the first major summer travel season after COVID struck has found a gutted aviation industry on its knees unable to meet needs due to mass headcount reductions over the past two years.

Making matters worse however is a surge in demand for passengers requiring support, not because they are physically challenged, but because some are breaking rules designed to reduce the strain of traveling on the less able-bodied.

“People are using the wheelchair support to try to get fast tracked through the airport,” Heathrow Airport boss John Holland-Kaye told London’s LBC. “If you go on TikTok, you’ll see that is one of the travel hacks people are recommending. Please don’t do that, we need to protect the service for the people who need it most.”


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The UK is ground zero of Europe’s summer travel chaos as staffing issues have become particularly acute.

Following the country’s decision to end freedom of movement, companies can no longer easily recruit temporary workers from EU countries next door, as well as those non-EU countries that are part of the Single Market such as Norway.

Brexit may also be behind miles and miles of summer travellers queuing in their cars at England’s Dover or Folkestone for hours on end travel-chaos-eurotunnel-channel-delays” data-ylk=”slk:to enter France” class=”link “to enter France, an problem that has received

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Air passengers are using a TikTok travel hack where they pretend to need a wheelchair in an attempt to skip lines, airport CEO claims

Queues form at Heathrow Airport.

Delays and cancellations have caused significant problems for travelers at Heathrow Airport.Anadolu Agency / Contributor / Getty

  • 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

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