Airlines cut back on curbside check-in service
Traveling is always hectic, but this year don’t expect an extra pair of hands to help at the airport.
Alaska, American and West Jet airlines are the three remaining airlines out of nine that fly out of the Palm Springs International Airport that still provide curbside check-in service for travelers.
While airport executive director Tom Nolan said the airlines do make up about 60 percent of airline traffic and therefore service the majority of the airport’s travelers, the aging population of the Coachella Valley isn’t too keen on the lack of curbside help.
“I can’t even lift up a suitcase much less haul it in,” said 78-year-old Mary Ann Austin of Rancho Mirage.
When she flew in August to Detroit, there was no one to help her with her bags. The friend who dropped her off had to park and help with the luggage and check-in.
“We had to leave the car at the curb and hope not to get ticketed,” she said.
United and Delta airlines, among the largest airlines that fly out of Palm Springs, discontinued the service earlier this year.
“We offer curbside service to select airports that have a level of passenger volume that warrant that type of service and in Palm Springs, that level of use for that service was down,” said Delta Airlines spokeswoman Susan Elliott.
United Airlines spokesman Rahsaan Johnson attributes the decrease in demand to the popularity of online check-in and self check-in kiosks.
“At the end of the day, if the customers are migrating inside and demonstrating a lack of interest in checking in outside, we’re going to consolidate the resources indoors,” Johnson said.
Curbside check-in has been disappearing at even the biggest airports, along with the skycaps who used to lug bags for tips. Heightened security and the fact that airlines are charging for checked baggage has discouraged many travelers from bringing luggage.
“Palm Springs is not any different than any other airport in the country,” Nolan said. “But I think customers are getting used to the fact that airplanes nationwide are cutting back on services and charging more for services.”
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