A disturbing new trend on TikTok suggests air passengers fake injuries to avoid waiting in lines at airports around the world.
A couple of videos on the social media platform show people bragging about asking for wheelchairs at airports so they can skip lines. In some instances, the air passenger who was faking the injury was accompanied by a group of travellers, which allowed the entire party to skip the line.
John Holland-Kaye, London Heathrow International Airport's chief executive operator, told Leading Britain's Conversation (LBC) that the people who do not require accessibility assistance have abused the system, resulting in delays for people who actually require a wheelchair.
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) spokesperson Megan Sutton told Vancouver Is Awesome that passengers on Vancouver flights who require accessibility accommodations must contact the airline directly.
In an emailed statement, Air Canada told V.IA. that the vast majority of its passengers respect the boarding process, "which may take a little longer with more people travelling," adding that the plane will only depart when the boarding process is finished.
"Passengers should ensure they are at the airport and at their gate per the recommended times as publicized by both airports and airlines," said the airline.
WestJet spokesperson Denise Kenny told V.I.A. that the airline is unaware of any incidents of the trend on its flights and "would not tolerate guests taking advantage of the accessibility accommodations we have in place for our guests who require them."
The carrier recognizes that travellers face delays as Canadians return to travel and thanks guests for their "continued patience," she added.
TikTok videos show travellers faking injuries to use a wheelchair and avoid airport delays
A young traveller said he received the "VIP treatment" at the Helsinki International Airport in Finland in four steps by getting his friend to use a wheelchair when he didn't require one.
The man writes in a TikTok video that the first step is to get a friend to sit in a wheelchair. Following this, he pushes his friend around and boasts that he receives "priority boarding with the boys."
The video has been viewed over 75,0000 times.
@alfreeedb How to get VIP treatment in 4 steps. #foryou #fördig #travelhacks #wheelchairinairport #airport #helsinki #zadar #novalja #zrcebeach ♬ Mission Impossible (Main Theme) - Favorite Movie Songs
But the young air passenger isn't alone in his attempts. Several other videos have surfaced that show people using similar techniques around the world.
Another TikToker says he faked hurting his leg by taking off a sock so he could through security quickly after a fun holiday partying.
The traveller shared a video of himself in a wheelchair donning a Chesire cat-sized grin with a "hang loose" hand sign. He also captioned the incident as a "prank" and "funny."
@wolfjenko Amazing what taking one sock off can achieve 😂✈️ #holiday #wheelchair #vip #foryoupage #foryou #prank #funny #fypシ ♬ original sound - WolfJenko
In another incident, a woman writes in a TikTok video: "When you ask for a wheelchair so you and your [expletive] can skip the line"
@lilboujie3 I actually can’t walk long 😁 #frontierairlines #travel #wheelchair #tsa #girlstrip ♬ original sound - Steam only ♨️
In a previous statement to V.I.A., the Office of the Minister of Transport said Canada is taking delays at airports "seriously" and will continue to work with its partners to ensure a streamlined process for travellers.
"To date, more than 1,500 CATSA screening officers have been hired across the country. As noted in our recent statement, though delays certainly remain, the average wait-time for passengers is improving, for example between July 21-25, with 81 [per cent] of travellers screened in less than 15 minutes at Vancouver International Airport.
"We will continue engagement with airports and airlines to ensure bottlenecks at every point of the passenger journey continue to be addressed.”