A holidaymaker was branded ‘selfish’ after she bragged about skipping long airport queues by pretending to have a broken foot.
Charlotte Rees, 32, slipped on a protective boot to trick staff as she flew from Manchester to Majorca with her fiancé Paul Brown, 33.
The small business owner was ushered to the front of the lengthy check-in and security queues then ditched the boot in the bathroom once she was through to departures.
Charlotte Rees, 32, slipped on a protective boot to trick staff as she flew from Manchester to Majorca with her fiancé Paul Brown, 33
Charlotte was ushered to the front of the lengthy check-in and security queues then ditched the boot in the bathroom once she was through to departures. Pictured, with Paul
Some viewers criticised the move, saying it was insensitive towards disabled people, but Charlotte remained defiant and insists only ‘Karens’ complained.
‘I was very surprised it worked,’ she said. ‘I did feel bad for the other people waiting. But if they thought smart they could of jumped the queue too.
‘I just thought of many different ways I could have jumped the queue, chose the boot idea in the hope it pulled off, and it did.
The holidaymaker is the latest in a string of wily TikTok users who have published their own ‘step-by-step’ guides to help holidaymakers pretend to be injured so they can skip lengthy airport queues, sparking fury online.
Partly thanks to their antics, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye last month said support for disabled passengers is at an ‘all-time high’ because many passengers are attempting to ‘fast-track lanes’ by faking needing wheelchair assistance.
Charlotte shared a video of her trick on TikTok which racked up more than 142,000 views.
Charlotte shared a video of her trick on TikTok which racked up more than 142,000 views. She pretended to have a broken foot and wore the boot to breeze through security, pictured
The clip shows her and Paul breezing through security in the ‘priority assistance line’ before removing her medical boot in the bathroom, pictured
The clip shows her and Paul breezing through security in the ‘priority assistance line’ before removing her medical boot in the bathroom.
Charlotte then filmed herself walking unaided in her white flip flops as she headed on holiday to celebrate her birthday.
The pair then gave a thumbs up as they sat down for a meal before getting on their flight to Palma.
The clip was criticised by some for making light of genuine disabilities.
One wrote: ‘Do you think it’s fair that people who are disabled have to live with a condition day in and day out?
The couple gave a thumbs up after pulling off their plan at Manchester Airport ahead of their holiday to Majorca
The clip divided opinion, with some claiming that the trick makes light of disabilities. Charlotte admitted ‘not everybody saw the funny side’ but said she was just ‘using her brain’
‘Whilst you just get to pick and choose when to abuse this facility when you have no genuine reason.’
Another said: ‘And block it up for people who actually need it, how selfish.’
Defiant Charlotte said: ‘Your opinion is about as important as you, do one.’
However one fan said: ‘Sneaky, but clever. I like it.’
Another flyer added: ‘Oh my God. Genius.’
Charlotte added: ‘Not everybody has seen the funny side of it. I did receive a small amount of negative comments from all the “Karens”. But I didn’t take up anybody’s space I just simply used my brain and got through the queue a lot faster.’
REVEALED: The TikTok pranksters including a 28-year-old student and flight attendant telling travellers to use wheelchairs to jump airport queues – as disabled passengers brand them ‘selfish idiots’
There has been an emerging trend brazen social media users have bragged online about skipping long queues at check-in desks and security – with some even getting ‘priority boarding’ to their flight.
Wolf Jenkins, 28, was ushered through security in a wheelchair he pretended to have sprained his ankle returning from Ibiza on June 21.
Jenkins – who described in other news reports as a student – and his friend were then given rows to themselves on the plane so that he could stretch his leg out.
The tattooed TikToker regularly posts about his trips abroad and boasts of his party lifestyle.
Tiktoker Alfred Boling, from Finland, posted a four-step process to ‘boarding easily’ with step one being to find a public wheelchair at the airport and requesting extra assistance
Cierra Huffman, who uses the username Cierra_Mistt, told her millions of followers in a now deleted video: ‘Here’s how you avoid all lines not only in security but also in restaurant, bars and even on the jet bridge to get onto your flight’
Wolf Jenkins, 28, regularly posts on Tiktok about his trips abroad and his party lifestyle. He revealed how he skipped more than two hours of queues when he pretended to have sprained his ankle at Milas-Bodrum airport in Turkey on June 16 (pictured). The British student and his friend were then given rows to themselves on the plane so that Mr Jenkins could stretch his leg out
One user, named Hair.By Shell, blasted the prank that has taken over UK airports and said: ‘I’m all for a laugh but my terminally ill dad couldn’t get a wheelchair at the airport because of people doing this – not cool at all.’
Another added: ‘Imagine pretending to need a wheelchair. My son actually needs a wheelchair and it’s not something anybody should be pretending about.’
Incredibly, one air hostess with 3.1million TikTok followers even uploaded a video advising people to feign an injury so they could be granted wheelchair privileges.
Cierra Huffman, who uses the username Cierra_Mistt, told her millions of followers in a now deleted video: ‘Here’s how you avoid all lines not only in security but also in restaurant, bars and even on the jet bridge to get onto your flight.’
She adds: ‘No matter what, you can’t be denied a wheelchair if you ask for one… I’ve personally seen people start to fake an injury and need a wheelchair just to get through the line because you have to go up to the very front.
‘That being said they also get a wheelchair and get to go on the airplane before everyone else.’
It is not clear when the cabin crew member, who is based out of Salt Lake City airport in the US, first posted the clip.
She has shot to fame on the app for her much-loved videos on ‘airport hacks’ and insider secrets between cabin crew and airport staff – and has been featured in several articles in the past.
But her ‘wheelchair hack’ video has disappeared from her profile after receiving criticism.
It was shared by Poppy Field, who blasted the ‘disgraceful’ advice in her own clip with the caption: ‘Wheelchair assistance is not an airport hack…. stop making disabled people’s lives harder than they already are.’
Poppy told her followers: ‘Hi, I’m disabled, I just got back from a transatlantic flight from Philadelphia to Heathrow and they were so understaffed, that the baggage guy who checked my bag in, eventually had to take me on the plane.
‘I was forgotten about, I was treated like cattle and when the guy came to get me, bless his soul I know he was very overworked, but he full on sighed and looked at me as if I was a complete burden on his existence… I did tip him because obviously it’s very hard work pushing someone around.’
Social media users have been posting their ‘travel hacks’ on TikTok amid lengthy queues at airports across the country. Pictured: Wolf Jenkins, a 28-year-old student, boasted how he got priority over other passengers for ‘faking an injury’
Pictured: Alfred Boling’s Tiktok video showed him apparently pushing a friend in a wheelchair in order to ‘board easily’. Boling said step one was to find a public wheelchair at the airport you are travelling from and request extra assistance
The second step of the prank involved Mr Boling ‘pushing his friend around’ to make the fabricated act look ‘real’ – so he could sail past the queues in check-in and security
She added: ‘It was not a fun experience, I was worried about missing my flight the whole time, I had no one to help me get on the plane, passengers had to advocate for me to get on the wheelchair.’
She said on her return trip she was ‘herded into a golf cart’ before being ‘plonked onto a seating area’ where ‘every 20 minutes a new wheelchair would arrive with at least 30 people waiting in arrivals.’
She added: ‘So please don’t do this, because I cannot tell you how awful it is right now and how understaffed it is. Please don’t make disabled people’s lives more painful and stressful than they already are.’
TikTok’s ‘step-by-step hack’ to avoiding lengthy queues across Britain’s airports:
Today, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said support for disabled passengers is at an ‘all-time high’ because many passengers are attempting to ‘fast-track lanes’ by faking needing wheelchair assistance.
Brazen social media users have bragged about skipping long queues at check-in desks and security – with some even getting ‘priority boarding’ to their flight.
Below is a TikToker’s step-by-step guide on how to make the disability cheat convincing enough to fool aviation staff:
Step One: Find a public wheelchair at the airport you are travelling from and request extra assistance at a help desk.
Step Two: A staff member from the airports support team will help you sail past the queues at check-in and security so you can enjoy the departure lounge until your gate opens.
Step Three: You – including anyone you’re travelling with – will get priority boarding and be allowed on the plane first to get yourself settled before airline staff call other passengers for their seats.
Step Four: For the remainder of the flight, TikTok users urge you to ‘act cool’ so you do not arouse any suspicion during the flight – as when you reach your destination, you will be once again assisted off the flight to beat the queues for baggage reclaim and security.
Supporters were furious with the original clip, with one commenting: ‘What a selfish thing to even suggest. I can’t believe how little people think about how their actions affect people who are actually disabled.’
Another said: ‘I get wheelchair assistance… the last thing we need is people abusing this and making our lives even harder.’
Another influencer, Alfred Boling, also ‘pretended to be disabled’ so he could get ‘private boarding with the boys’ and posted a four-step process to ‘boarding easily’.
He said on his TikTok account that step one was to find a public wheelchair at the airport you are travelling from and request extra assistance.
The second step of the prank involved Mr Boling’s friends ‘pushing him around’ to make the fabricated act look ‘real’ – so he could sail past the queues at check-in and security.
During the video, the group took turns to sit on the wheelchair while smiling, whilst the caption read ‘Step three: Get private boarding with the boys’ – meaning they will be allowed on the plane first to get settled before airline staff call other passengers for their seats.
The last step was to ‘act cool’ to not arouse any suspicion – as when you reach your destination, you will be once again assisted off the flight to beat the queues for baggage reclaim and security.
The TikToker is from Mustasaari in Finland, and is believed to have served in the military.
One video on his profile shows him taking a video of himself and friends dressed head to toe in military gear – although this may have been linked to his country’s conscription laws, which mean any man aged between 18 to 60 may be called to serve for at least 165 days.
George Morgan-Glenville from Red Savannah Travel told MailOnline that people have long tried to ‘game the airlines’ but that the situation and tactics have likely been exacerbated due to the current crisis plaguing the country’s travel hubs.
‘It is inevitable that some people will try to play the airlines, but I think there has been a diminution of morality over the past 20 or 30 years.
‘Where as this would have been frowned upon some decades ago, nowadays it is seen as some sort of win against the carriers, and it has to stop.’
He added: ‘There is no easy solution, but perhaps there is some form of ID such as a blue badge that disabled people can show to prove they are genuine.’
It comes after bosses at Birmingham airport also said there was a 20 per cent rise in people asking for assistance and it has had to buy more wheelchairs and take on extra staff to push them.
Disabled passengers also have the option to be transported to their gate from departures via an electric buggy.
One user ‘faked hurting his leg to get through security quicker’ on a plane home from Ibiza, while another posted a ‘step-by-step’ guide on social media showing how to make the ‘hack’ convincing.
Speaking on LBC this morning, Heathrow boss Mr Holland-Kaye said: ‘We do have as many people now working in our passengers requiring support team as we had before the pandemic. We’ve seen demand has gone up significantly.
‘For passengers requiring wheelchair support, we have more demand than we had before the pandemic. Why is that happening? Some of this is because people are using the wheelchair support to try and get FastTrack through the airport, and we need to protect that for the people who most need help.
‘If you go on TikTok that is one of the travel hacks people are recommending – please don’t do that we need to protect the service for the people who need it most. The second thing is half of all the people who ask for the service only ask once they’re on the plane. If you really need the service, you’ll be better letting us know well in advance so we can make sure there are enough people there to meet your needs.’
Meanwhile, Heathrow reported a pre-tax loss of £321million in the first half of the year despite maintaining its daily limit on flights until after the October half term.
Overall, revenues jumped for the airport as people travelled abroad for leisure and business – but ultimately costs have significantly risen.
The airport said its first-half adjusted loss before tax reduced by £466million to £321 million as a result of higher passenger numbers, and said it was still struggling with a lack of ground handlers.