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Ask Airfarewatchdog.com: Stretching the definition of 'disabled'
Q: I fly on a weekly basis with Southwest Airlines. Out of all the big carriers (United, American and Delta), Southwest has figured out how to treat the business passenger well. My only concern with Southwest is their disabled pre-boarding policy. Every time I fly, I am astonished by the increasing number of people claiming to be disabled and taking advantage of the pre-boarding. Let me be the first to say that I completely support pre-boarding for anyone legitimately battling a physical and/ or mental disability. What concerns me is that I have experienced on numerous occasions individuals, who claim eligibility for this policy, "spring out" of their wheelchairs and take off down the jetway like Fred Astaire without any noticeable challenge. My concern is that people are now abusing a program that was set up for people who honestly need assistance. I am just appalled by this type of self-serving behavior. Also, last I checked, being over the age of 65 doesn't qualify you as disabled and allow you to cheat your way in front of families with multiple children and business travelers who paid three times the fare that these scammers did.
By George Hobica, Airfarewatchdog.com (MCT)
September 10, 2012