US Skycap airport porters: a good deal for heavy or bulky luggage

By John Walton, September 22 2011
US Skycap airport porters: a good deal for heavy or bulky luggage

Flying through a US airport with lots of hold luggage? Tip the Skycap airport porter to carry your checked bags instead of spending the same amount of money on a pay-per-use luggage trolley.

At most US airports -- especially the ones Australian business travellers are likely to find themselves passing through -- baggage carts are only available for a fee, with Smarte Carte the most frequently seen system. You don't get the money back when you return the trolley, either.

Since the trolleys are made for a couple of holiday suitcases, they're not the easiest of things to steer, either, especially if you're travelling with samples, event materials or anything else big & bulky.

Instead, find a uniformed Skycap porter, who will pop your luggage on his (or, infrequently, her) larger cart, and often speed you to the front of the check-in queue as a side benefit.

The cost? Usually $2 per bag, more if your luggage is bulky, and a bit extra for getting you to the front of the queue.

In Canada, there's usually a set charge of $10 for three bags, plus $2 per extra bag.

Well worth it to saves time, hassle and manoeuvring a trolley through the tensa-barrier pens for check-in.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

Just want to say thank you for posting this. I work as a porter at the Denver airport and I hope the word gets out to people, I mean if people thought about it wouldn't they rather tip a person than pay a machine? Sadly in my experience alot of people rather use the smart carts and i dont understand why. Well if they need help finding there shuttle or rental car bus they can ask the cart thats why there called SmartCarts lol

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 673

Thanks Andrew. Can you tell me whether my price ballparks there are correct? I checked with a few airport PR people, but always good to get some info from someone on the ground...

Well at our airport we only work on tips there is no charge for our service. Usually it depends on how many bags and how far they need to go is how much they will tip. Usually $20 or  $10 for alot of bags, and $5 for 4 or 5 bags, but sometimes $2 or $3 and sometimes nothing, eather way i would think it is a better deal than buying a cart for $4 since they have the choice to pay what they want.


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