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Introduce yourself to a 'skycap'

By Greg Goodsell
March 11th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A "skycap" is usually a person who hangs out at airports and assists travelers with their bags. They work for tips and are not associated with any organization associated with the airport. Some travel experts  now say that you should take advantage of the skycap's services.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Trust us, now that airlines are charging more and more fees for checking bags, check in lines can sometimes be maddeningly long as passengers fumble with payment, rearrange the contents of their bags to make them lighter, and argue with check in agents about this hated new reality of flying," David Landsel says.

"Skycaps are sometimes not quite as persnickety if your bag happens to be a couple of ounces over the weight at which extra fees kick in, or if its a couple of inches longer than the 61-62 inches in overall measurement at which even more fees kick in. So their services can save more than just time," he adds.

Landsel adds that it's customary to tip the skycap at least $2 a bag, although you really should tip more. "They aren't employed by the airlines, they aren't protected by those strong airline unions. In essence, they're like the valet parking guys at a restaurant. Over at the airport, however, the clientele isn't exactly in a festive mood when it comes to paying for extra services."

Using a skycap can also buy a little extra time for the harried air traveler. Use a skycap to retrieve your luggage while you visit the restroom, counsel a tired and irritable child or break away for a quick bite to eat.

Depending upon the airport, skycaps can also provide you with luggage tags and pens, tape for your bags, and boxes for your garment bags, skis, and golf clubs.

Just remember that skycaps work for gratuities, and have no other form of worker compensation or protection so please tip generously.

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