Senior citizens at airports

Published in Pakistan Today on the 29th of June, 2011.

I made a shocking and disturbing observation the other day at the Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore. There are no separate arrangements for the senior citizens or the disabled individuals, especially at the check in counters. It was disturbing to see an aged woman utilising every bit of her energy to stand and wait in line for check in at the counter for an Emirates airline flight. She wasn’t offered a wheelchair or a separate counter where she would not have to wait in queue for almost an hour before it was finally her turn.
The same ignorance is also observed on other flights at both domestic and international counters. It is not as much about giving the world an impression of us being a civil nation and more about actually being one. Senior citizens should not be made to stand and wait in queues like any other individual; they have earned the right to be given preferential treatment.
We should have separate queues for senior citizens at all airports and every place that require queues. At places like airports, members of the staff should be detailed with such seniors to assist them. They should be given the facility of porters to carry their baggage without any charge. If VIP protocol can be extended to MNAs, MPAs, and senior officials without charge at state’s expense, then the same ought to be extended to all senior citizens as well as they deserve and need it more than any of us.

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