Airlines made $38bn in profits during 2017 but some tips-dependent workers at major hubs are making less than minimum wage
Carlos Batista has worked at Orlando international airport for 12 years as a wheelchair attendant, a job where he often doesn’t make the federally required minimum hourly wage due to being classified as a tipped worker. Instead, the independent contractor he works for pays him $5.23 an hour, and attendants are not allowed to solicit passengers for tips.
“A lot of people don’t know we live off tips, so we get thank yous, and the average wheelchair assist from counter to gate takes 45 minutes to an hour,” Batista said. “We’re the face of the airport. We take care of mothers and family members who need assistance with wheelchairs and bags.”