Deboarding a plane can be a frustrating experience, especially if you’re in a rush to make a connecting flight. And although most airlines try to make the process as streamlined as possible, external factors can make getting off the plane anything but smooth.
And while there are many reasons people might request a wheelchair to board a plane, people on social media are accusing airlines of letting people take advantage of the system.
A Southwest Airlines passenger in Florida is going viral on Twitter after 20 passengers requested wheelchair assistance for boarding, yet only three needed accommodations to get off the plane.
The post, which has been viewed over 4,100 times, was taken at the Fort Lauderdale airport by a passenger named Paul, who called the situation a “Pre-boarding scam.”
— Paul (@trendready) June 24, 2023
Southwest quickly responded to the post.
“We’re sorry for any disappointment, Paul. We work hard to maintain the integrity of the boarding process while providing appropriate accommodations for all who fly,” the airline penned. “Since many disabilities aren’t visible, we’re unable to question the validity of preboarding requests.”
@SouthwestAir. The wheelchair scam continues this morning. How do a family of ‘C’ boarding Pre-board? Get grandma to sit in a wheelchair. Now the whole family (5) gets to accompany her. pic.twitter.com/JORUPaXdMr
— Paul (@trendready) June 25, 2023
Dozens of angry customers and passengers took to the comments blaming the airline and claiming they were in a similar situation.
According to Southwest’s policy, “customers who require assistance must identify themselves as needing wheelchair assistance upon arrival to the airport, at any connection points, and upon arrival to their destination.”
The airline did not immediately respond to Entrepreneur’s request for comment.