Only a question – Why do wheel chair passengers need to Q jump at security…Back to Forum
Anonymous13 May 2014
In case I haven’t asked this question in a PC manner, I will apologize in advance.
A question that I would be interested to learn the answer to:
Why do passengers in wheelchairs go straight to the front of the security lines? After all, we are all rushing to get flights…
This morning in Frankfurt, long q’s (again) at security (BA gate), made longer by wheel chair passengers plus accompanying passengers (up to 4) being ushered to the front… I am just trying to understand the need….
A lot of able bodies passengers were equally frustrated at the q’s and one asked whether his nervous disposition of wondering whether he would catch his flight would also allow him to q jump…
I know this question is not PC, but would be interested in the answer…..13 May 2014
It’s down to staffing levels. If the “pusher” were to wait in line then the time taken to complete his task would take much longer and necessitate considerably more staff performing the function.13 May 2014
EC Regulation No 1107/2006 states
“Persons with reduced mobility or disability are entitled to receive the assistance specified in the regulation free of charge in airports”
So as Imissconcorde comments it appears to be one of staffing levels where airport employees are assisting. Although you do occasionally see a non-airport employee assisting a wheel chair passenger go to the front, I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules that they go to the front other than the fact that it now seems to be a common courtesy, or an expected courtesy as it helps the person supporting who often could have difficulty navigating through the various obstacles that some airport impose prior to screening.
I use Man a lot, and often families with babies and small children are pulled forward, but then you see Aunt, Uncle Grandma and Granddad and 6 other cousins all go together, not that gets my goat!!!13 May 2014
I’m with you Martyn
I’d have thought that wheelchair users want to be treated no differently from the rest of us; by making a fuss the security team are actually highlighting this passenger as different. And possibly making the individual feel uncomfortable.
I think that IMC was meaning an airline employee being the pusher, then possibly I can see logic in freeing up the pusher for other duties.13 May 2014
Imagine the scrum it would cause on board if there was a wheelchair, or more than one wheelchair, blocking the aisle, whilst the occupant manouvered themself / was helped into a seat, and the “pusher” then tried to get himself and chair off the plane…………..13 May 2014
If it is any consolation it sometimes works against the pax in question. On a couple of occasions (one surgery, the other an accident) I needed assistance – I could walk short distances with crutches but definitely needed the help given the distances in some airports and the fact that you can’t handle cabin luggage with crutches. Coming back into HK, each time we went to the “special window” despite my protests that I could walk through the e-gates. Oh no, the special window it had to be. The one where they send all the problem cases from the main immigration desks. Ugh.13 May 2014
I think Imissconcorde answered the question the first time.
By jumping the Q the pusher gets the job done more quickly and is freed up to assist someone else who needs assistance.13 May 2014
This morning the “pushers” were family members… was there any need to Q jump…….., the party just ended up waiting at the gate… just like everyone else….
She was also boarded last as she had an aisle seat…13 May 2014
You have my sympathy. This happened to me at border control at STN once (what can I say? it was a destination that only FR flew to…). It was bad enough that there was only 1 non-EU passport lane open, but a sudden procession of wheelchair and older passengers got ushered to the front. I gave a “looks could kill” look to the Border control queue official, who then gave me a lecture about “how would I like it if I was in a wheelchair” and would I like to be sent to the back of the queue (for staring at her). My point was why, with 10 lanes open for EU, they had to send all the disabled people to the 1x non-EU lane, but I wasn’t going to argue. It is actually political correctness gone mad IMHO
Back to the OP. Does FRA still do a “short connection” fast security lane? They list the flights that are eligible on a TV screen by the lane. I’ve managed to make a connection where the inbound flight arrived *after* my connection was due to depart, but by racing through that lane13 May 2014
As someone who is registered blind and uses a white cane, I regularly get invited to use the fast track lane or invited to the front of the queue in airports. This probably happens about 1 time in 3 and whilst I don’t ask for it, I do generally take it if offered. After all, there is enough extra hassle about travel when you are disabled that if life is occasionally made easier for you because you are disabled, then I doubt people can really grumble. The point about maximising the use of airport staff time is valid. Also, for people in wheelchairs, the winding tape used to manage queues can be tricky to navigate as they are rarely wide enough and have sharp turns.
However, if you were to ask disabled people how their travel experience could be made easier given their disabilities, I doubt that queue jumping would be a priority. For example, I don’t take up offers of priority boarding as I prefer to be the last on the plane rather than sitting in a seat for half an hour whilst a plane fills up. For me, my priorities are better lighting, reduced street furniture, clear & logical sign posting, easy to read screens, audible announcements. A pet hate for me is being forced to walk through a duty free shop immediately after security. One day I am sure I will walk into a shelf and smash all the perfume bottles, etc.
Also, there can be a startling lack of intelligence at times with assisting disabled people. I’ve never forgotten a time I flew out of Newark airport. It was from terminal C which I wasn’t familiar with at the time so when the check-in staff asked if I needed assistance to get to the gate, I accepted the offer (normally I decline). The helper then proceeded to bring a great big wheelchair and naturally I pointed out I didn’t need that. Instead of leaving the chair at check-in, he proceeded to wheel the empty chair with me walking alongside all the way to the gate. The route turned out to be really twisty with plenty of awkward corners for the wheelchair and it took ages and was completely unnecessary.13 May 2014
Often, the queue jumping is from necessity.
The wheelchair person has been waiting for assistance for quite a while and needs to be expedited.
This is particularly true at Heathrow, with Omniserve. I speak from the experiences of disabled relatives.13 May 2014