More and more ‘fake disabled people’ at Schiphol: “Not a good word for about”

Now that the queues at Schiphol have been longer than usual in recent months, employees are increasingly seeing passengers who fake a disability and request special assistance to avoid the queues. It is a slap in the face for someone like Rivka Smit, who desperately needs this assistance due to her muscle disease SMA.

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“People have no idea what sacrifices we have to make to be able to travel,” says Smits. “A long planning precedes this. If you then start to fake that you have a disability, then I wonder where we have descended as a society.”

Bypass Rows

Since the May holiday, Schiphol has seen a 35 percent increase compared to 2019 in the number of requests for passenger assistance. According to Madelon van der Hof of Schiphol, this increase can be explained in two ways. “Partly it is because people have to wait longer and therefore need physical assistance earlier.”

“On the other hand, we also see that travelers use aids to avoid queues,” continues Van der Hof. “Of course we have nothing good to say about the latter. It ensures that the vulnerable group of travelers is under pressure as a result.” For example, people with disabilities have to wait longer for assistance and, according to Schiphol employees, there is sometimes a wheelchair shortage.

These inconveniences then come on top of all other matters that people with disabilities have to arrange. “We have to arrive earlier to ensure that our wheelchairs and aids can be transported safely,” says Smits. “We understand that, of course, but it only gets more difficult if people start creating these kinds of situations.”

Call

According to Madelon van der Hof, it is difficult for Schiphol to do something about this immediately. “We are legally obliged to provide assistance to anyone who asks for it, so we are not allowed to ask for the reason for the request. Hence the call to people to only request assistance if you really need it.”

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