Flying Out of Louisiana? The Boarding Problem No Airline Can Fix
The airports in the Louisiana cities of New Orleans and Lafayette have recently undergone major facelifts. Okay, in both cases it was a lot more than a facelift. It was a tummy tuck, liposuction, enhancement here, and reduction there. I guess if we're being honest what was done with the airports in Lafayette and New Orleans is less about plastic surgery adjustments and more along the lines of creating a whole new monster ala Frankenstein.
Except these new airports are far from being a monster. I have flown out of both Lafayette and New Orleans since the upgrades I can tell you there has never been a better time to fly out of these cities than right now. The new facilities in both cities are more spacious. They offer more amenities. The restaurants are nicer and the restrooms are cleaner.
However, there is one problem even a new airport can't fix when it comes to flying. And that problem rears its ugly head every time passengers go to board the aircraft. Let me ask you a question about flying. When you're about to board an airplane who gets on first? Is it First Class? Is it the Priority Class? or is it a collection of liars who need to be called out in public?
Of course, it's the liars who need to be called out in public because they get to board the aircraft before everyone but the flight crew. And that's what creates the aircraft boarding problem that no airline will ever be able to fix.
The Problem Stems From Passengers Who Pretend to be Disabled
Please note this gripe is about liars who pretend to be disabled. If you have a disability I am all in favor of offering you the assistance you need to enjoy traveling just the same as me. But if you're being wheeled through an airport simply because "you don't want to walk" or "you want a free pass to board the aircraft first" then there is a special place in traveling hell for you.
If you're a frequent flyer you've seen the scenario unfold. A person arrives at the gate in a wheelchair. The flight crew assists them onboard the aircraft. The passenger claims a prime overhead spot for their carry-on bag and the rest of the "able-bodied" passengers board.
Then, during the flight, I guess because the plane flies so close to heaven these disabled individuals suddenly become healed. When the aircraft lands they don't need a wheelchair anymore, they can carry their bags, and they sprint down the jetway. If this was real then Southwest Airlines would need to establish a terminal at the Vatican because they're performing more miracles than the Pope.
As Much As They'd Like to The Airlines Can't Do a Darn Thing About It
Since many disabilities can't be seen to the untrained eye the airlines can only take the passengers at their word. Unfortunately, not all passengers understand the concept of honesty. An airline travel writer, Gary Leff recently highlighted a story in which he saw 25 passengers arrive at the gate in wheelchairs to board a Southwest Airlines flight. Leff then observed none of the 25 needed a wheelchair when the aircraft arrived at its destination.
Let's face it, the honor system won't work when there is no honor among those who are working it. So, don't expect the policy to change. And if you do need extra time to board an aircraft, a bus, or a boat, please ask for assistance because this article is not about you. It's about those other people and I know you see them too.
Seems like this could be a great new trend on TikTok. I mean we wouldn't be using the social media platform to call out liars who are mocking those with actual disabilities. We'd be shining the spotlight on the "miracles" that take place when you get closer to God. Maybe the airlines could start charging a "miracle fee" for those passengers who find themselves healed just as the captain has turned off the seatbelt sign at landing.
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Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells