Skycaps protest airline surcharges

May 23, 2008 1:32:19 PM PDT
The price of fuel has forced many airlines to search for other ways to make money. In fact some airlines have started adding a surcharge to curbside baggage service at RDU. Skycaps say that fee is cutting into their tips and they're now filing a lawsuit. Skycaps are generally willing to work for minimum wage or less because tips are such a big part of the job. But when four airlines added a $2 and $3 surcharge for curbside baggage check at RDU, many skycaps say their tips didn't increase to offset the surcharge.

Bridget Ingram of Southern Pines says she had never paid attention to signs says some airlines are charging for each bag checked curbside. "That could be the reason why a lot of people, they would cut into their tips right now especially because people don't know about it," Ingram said.

That's why a lawsuit has been filed in federal court seeking to reclaim lost wages at RDU. The lawsuit was filed by Attorney Greg Jones out of Wilmington. He tells Eyewitness News he represents only three skycaps at RDU.

Skycap Rashid Caraway, who works for an airline that doesn't add a curbside charge, says he can see both sides of the issue.

"The wage is not increasing but the actual tip is being split with the airlines," Caraway said. "On the other side I know the industry is changing with gas and stuff like that, that the airlines has to come up with creative ways to make a profit."

Bridget Ingram feels for the skycaps. "They do provide a very important service for us. We appreciate their help."

She says no matter the outcome of the lawsuit, she'll now add the surcharge to her normal tip.