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Skycap salaries take a dive

July 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Since travel costs have risen due to soaring fuel prices, travelers are skipping the tip when it comes to skycaps.Henry Watts is one of the skycaps who noticed this trend. He has been a skycap for Northwest Airlines for 20 years.

"I've never seen it, in my 20 years, as bad as it is now," said Watts.

There are about 100 skycaps at the Los Angeles International Airport, handling curbside check-in. Most of them rely on tips as a big part of their income. Some skycaps have noticed their earnings have dropped by 35 to 50 percent. Many airlines are hurting due to high fuel costs, so they are adding fees to check-in luggage.

"We've got a livelihood. We've got a family to take care of and we have bills that have to be paid. And what can we do? We're seeing a decrease in our earnings like they're seeing a decrease," said Watts.

"It hurts. I'm talking about the economy is hurting. So, it trickles down to everybody," said Alfonso Doty, another skycap. "What it all boils down to is customer service. So, if we keep the customers happy, we might keep our jobs happy for a little bit longer," adds Doty.

Most passengers understand the rise in fees from the airlines don't go to the skycaps.

"There was a time in my life when I was always on the road. These guys are family. They take care of you. I mean, I lose everything and these guys take care of me," said Paul Williams, singer-songwriter, and passenger.

Skycaps worry that the situation could get even worse. After Labor Day, many airlines plan will cut service 10 to 15 percent.

 

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