Abusing wheelchair service at LAX

wheelchair2.jpg When someone in high heels strolls into the terminal and asks for wheelchair assistance, you know something's not quite right. Same with a fit-looking guy who is late for his flight and hops on a chair. Airport attendants call them "miracle" passengers: Suddenly incapacitated just as it's time to go through security and suddenly cured once past the metal detector. The head of disabled services at LAX tells the WSJ's Scott McCartney that 15 percent of wheelchair requests are just a way of getting to the front of the security line. What's more, many of them don't even reserve them in advance. Which delays getting chairs to the folks who really need them. As Woody Allen once said, what I wouldn't give for a large sock with horse manure in it. From the Journal:

Abuse adds as much as 20 minutes to the wait for a wheelchair for some disabled passengers at LAX, disability advocates say. The wait at the Tom Bradley International Terminal averages 30 minutes. Sam Overton, president of the Los Angeles City Commission on Disability and a former California assistant attorney general, says he sometimes waits 20 to 30 minutes for a pusher at the airport. One change he would like to see: First serve those people who made advance wheelchair requests, which are widely seen as legitimate. People who make last-minute requests should be helped after those who reserved chairs, he said. "It's the dark side of human nature," says Mr. Overton, who has used a wheelchair for 58 years. "There's this mind-set at the airport--this thin veneer of civility. People are focused on themselves and don't think this is a service that other people need."

Honoring reservations would seem to be a good first step.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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