CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ever felt that a ground crew or airline representatives at Yeager Airport didn't meet your expectations?
If so, airport officials hope to address that issue by creating a set of minimum service standards for third-party airline workers.
The airport's board of directors discussed the issue at its regular meeting Wednesday.
For smaller airports like Yeager, some airline workers are actually employed by third-party companies hired by a given airline, instead of the airline itself. And while workers employed directly by the airline are subject to service standards, that's not always the case with third-party workers.
"We have leases with airlines, but the airlines don't operate ground handling or customer service," Airport Director Rick Atkinson said.
Other companies that operate at the airport, like rental car companies and restaurants, already have minimum service standards spelled out in contracts. Those standards dictate what kinds of services must be provided and employee dress code, among other things.
The airport itself also has service standards for its own employees.
"We want to make sure the quality of service provided by the airlines is keeping with the quality of service provided by the airport," Atkinson said.
Minimum service standards for third-party workers could include set timeframes by which passengers should leave gated aircraft or obtain checked luggage.
Customer service representatives could also be required to be on-duty within so many minutes before a flight departs and after a flight lands.
Atkinson said it's important to have uniform standards throughout the airport because though an outside company could be to blame for a passenger's bad experience, the passenger is likely to blame the airport itself.
"People don't care whose fault it is," he said.
Board member Priscilla Haden said applying minimum standards to third-party outfits was an "excellent" idea.
Atkinson said other smaller airports are in the same situation, and this has been a recent topic in the industry.
"This is not an issue that is unique to the Yeager Airport," he said. "Airlines recognize that, and I think airports will move that way."