Boss of Heathrow airport has exposed a dramatic ploy used by airline passengers to get round the travel chaos at airports made popular by a TikTok fake injury video.
John Holland-Kaye, the airport’s chief executive, said people are abusing wheelchair support on planes “to get fast-tracked through the airport” – a craze which he said delays helping wheelchair users off planes.
A TikTok creator’s video went viral after faking an injury to use a wheelchair while travelling from Bodrum in Turkey to Bristol Airport.
The clip, which has been condemned by disability rights charities has been viewed over 2.5 million times has also sparked a number of imitations.
“We’ve seen demand has gone up significantly. For passengers requiring wheelchair support we have more demand than we had before the pandemic.”
“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, we need to protect that for the people who most need help.
“If you go on TikTok you will see that is one of the travel hacks that people are recommending, please don’t do that we need to protect the service for the people who need it most.”
“All we can do is to employ even more people to make sure everyone regardless of need is able to travel in the wheelchair service but we need to make sure that people who don’t need it don’t use that service.”