Skycap, Where Art Thou?

Is it just me or are airport terminals getting longer and more difficult to navigate? And, at the same time is the area that skycaps are available to help passengers shrinking?

For Thanksgiving we made our usual trek to our children’s home in Los Angeles using the recently renovated facilities at Dulles. On our previous trip I noticed that the walkway from the end of the new rail system to terminal C was unusually long and largely uphill, a strain on a back that needs some tender care these days. I called the airline (United, if you want to know) and was assured that there were skycaps available, and I went to the Dulles website where I was assured that skycaps were available “throughout the terminal”. This was news to me and when I arrived at Dulles to the skycaps as well.

It seems that even in the absence of people movers at that terminal, skycaps are not allowed beyond the security checkpoint. In fact they seem to simply be available to take your bags from the entryway to the airline check-in area, a matter of a few yards . Given the easy accessibility of rental carts, that’s something few people really need.

That left me, and most others for whom carting bags about one mile often up an incline or on carpets which create enough friction to require substantial yanking to pull rollaboard luggage over them, two choices: a wheelchair ride up to the gate sans everything but an under the seat bag or checking luggage and trekking to the gate.

I don’t know about you, but the notion of checking my suitcase for a short trip on the heaviest travelled days of the year, fills me with  almost as much dread as another sciatica attack, and fortunately my husband (who also has a less than perfect back) helped me out.

But isn’t this ridiculous?

Doesn’t the Department of Transportation have an obligation to help travelers at Dulles? Surely if the airport facility were a private operation, you can be certain it wouldn’t avoid lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Why can’t skycaps be allowed to work in the ever greater distance between the security checkpoint and the departure gates?

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