Continuing the discussion from Pre-Board Abuse:
Definitely agree with you. Sadly, so many are taking advantage of these special access for truly handicapped individuals. I see the same thing with handicap parking. Everyone seems to have Handicap plackard! And they definitely do not look like they’re handicap! Very disturbing and sad.
There are lots of people with handicaps that don’t show on first glance. These may cause serious pain and other issues. I have a friend with severe lupus and she needs accomodation. I have fibromyalgia, bad neuropathy, and horrible balance. I use a cane or a scooter but my friend refuses to get one and suffers instead. My sister in law has Parkinson’s which gives her serious stability issues. We look “fine” to someone quickly seeing us standing up in line. Early boarding and handicap seating are not only for those in wheelchairs.
There are others “invited” to use early boarding by the airlines. People with babies and small children, people who have upgraded tickets, those who are frequent flyers on the airline, etc. Because I use a wheelchair to get to the gate, I’m always in the line even if I walk down to the plane. It does make for a crowd getting early boarding.
At least in Norway it’s very difficult to get a handicap badge for a car. Many people who should get them don’t, as their application is rejected. Nobody with a handicap sticker in Norway is cheating. You can still be disabled and handicapped if you can walk.
Regarding airlines boarding procedures. If you’re wheelchair bound, can’t walk and require pivotal transfer, the airline will give you the highest priority over all others.
Also, those needing assistance via wheelchair are the last ones to deplane, so you lose any benefit of quick exit of the plane with priority boarding.