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What We’re Reading: Using Wheelchairs to Cut Airport Security Lines

A disturbing new report claims that some flyers are using wheelchairs to cut in line when going through airport security. Get the details on this and other interesting travel stories in our regular weekly roundup.

Foliage in the City

Travel on is reminding us that you don’t necessarily need to shell out for a tank of gas and a few nights in a country B&B to see spectacular foliage. For proof, check out these five fall itineraries for city slickers.

Is Your Hometown Cool Enough?

How awesome are your small town stomping grounds? Budget Travel wants to know. The travel magazine is currently accepting nominations for its annual Coolest Small Towns contest. If your town has a population of less than 10,000, plus a thing or two that makes it a worthy travel destination, why not nominate it?

If you don’t hail from a hip little hamlet, you could always take a trip to one of these charming island towns or romantic small towns and claim them as your own.

Using Wheelchairs to Cut Airport Security Lines

According to a recent poll of SmarterTravel readers, disabled flyers should get to board planes before anyone else. (Other options were families with children, frequent flyers, and those who’ve paid to board first.) But a disturbing new report from The New York Times claims that many travelers request to use wheelchairs at the airport not because they need them, but because they want to get to the front of the airport security line faster. And, presumably, they get to board flights earlier too. It seems that no proof of disability is required—no doctor’s note or special I.D.—for flyers to request use of airport wheelchairs. You just have to ask for one.

According to The Times, “The practice, tacitly endorsed by a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy from wheelchair pushers, who sometimes receive tips, is so commonplace that airport workers can predict spikes in wheelchair requests when security is particularly backed up, and flight attendants see it so often on certain routes—including to the Philippines, Egypt and the Dominican Republic, for which sometimes a dozen people in wheelchairs will be waiting to board—they’ve dubbed them ‘miracle flights.'”

Of course, it would be inappropriate to accuse anyone using an airport wheelchair of faking it. But if travelers are encouraged to show doctor’s notes when carrying prescription medications through airport security, shouldn’t they need similar proof to use wheelchairs? What’s your opinion?

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