Yes Virginia, Some People That Use Airport Wheelchairs Can Walk


After reading yet another opinionated article about the legions of air travelers who just use wheelchairs to get fast-tracked through security and be first to board, I feel I have to set the record straight.

First and foremost, nobody really wants to use a wheelchair, except wannabes and pretenders, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

The reality is, it’s very difficult for someone who doesn’t use a wheelchair at home to actually use one at an airport. I speak from firsthand experience, as even though my broken foot was the size of a watermelon and the color of a grape, I still declined the airport wheelchair when I was returning from Arkansas. Charles valiantly tried to get me to use one, but I protested, proclaiming that I was fine. I just toughed it out.

And I’m not alone. Some people that really need airport wheelchairs don’t use them. And ironically I spend my life encouraging my slow walker readers to make use of airport wheelchairs.

Many of my readers have conditions that are unpredictable, and they may be fine in the morning, but almost unable to move in the afternoon. Others have invisible disabilities, and you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at them that walking through the airport would be next to impossible. These folks all need airport wheelchairs, and again, I encourage them to use them even if they really don’t think they will need one.


Because some airports are huge, and you really don’t know how far your gate is from the airport entrance. If you think it’s close, and it isn’t, you’ll be in trouble. You will overexert yourself just getting to your gate, and then spend several days paying for that overexertion. And you really don’t want to spend your vacation like that.

Of course the blasted article also made mention of those people that are miraculously “cured” during the flight, as even though they needed an airport wheelchair to board, they were first off the plane at the destination (people that need airport wheelchair assistance are deplaned after the rest of the passengers).

No they weren’t cured, and they weren’t faking either. Perhaps they were at their home airport and they know it’s just a short walk from the gate to the exit. Perhaps they were having difficulty earlier in the day, and after rushing to the airport they really couldn’t walk to the gate. And perhaps they are like my mother-in-law, who really can’t walk long distances, but shrugs off the airport wheelchair when her kids aren’t around.

The bottom line is, you can’t really tell just by looking at someone if they do or don’t need an airport wheelchair, as you just don’t know the back story. Just be glad you don’t need one, and realize that nothing is forever. You very well may need an airport wheelchair one day, and you wouldn’t want people trashing you for it, would you?

So please, do everybody a favor and stop writing those insipid articles about people using airport wheelchairs just to get some perceived perks. It really doesn’t help anyone, and serves only to create ill will and animosity. And trust me, we don’t need any more of that in the world!