STERLING, Va. — For Lauren Lewis, getting from the car to a flight can be a chaotic choreography.
Along with her two children, ages 1 and 3, Lewis has a lot on her plate.
“We are moving to Austria. My husband works there and we're joining him,” she said. “He went with the dog a couple of months ago, and so, I am traveling through the airport without any help.”
That is not the case this time, though. Lewis called in reinforcements--a squad, if you will--called “SkySquad.” The company helps people, like families and seniors, traverse the obstacle course that can be airline travel. They help not just with passengers’ luggage or rental cars, but they take them from check-in, through security, and all the way to the gate.
“The idea came from myself when I was traveling with my two young kids from California to the East Coast. It was very challenging,” said SkySquad founder Julie Melnick. “I had a bulky car seat, I had strollers, I had kids, I had luggage, and it was just impossible to get from the car to the gate. So, I thought, ‘Why isn't there a service to help me? I really wish there was one.’”
That is how SkySquad was born. Depending on how much help you need, the service costs $49 to $99.
“We really just want to make travel easier,” Melnick said.
The past year hasn’t been easy for the company. During the pandemic, air travel plummeted to historic lows, down 60% last year. However, that’s starting to change. AAA says nearly 2.5 million Americans will take to the skies. That is up 577% over air travel numbers from last Memorial Day weekend during the pandemic.
“We're definitely seeing a pickup in increased volume,” Melnick said.
SkySquad operates at both of Washington, D.C.’s airports, plus in Cincinnati. This summer, they’re expanding into Baltimore and Fort Lauderdale, a sign of their confidence in post-pandemic travel.
“We want to just be as available as possible to help people get out the door, get through the airport easily, with no stress, and get them on their way so they can have a great vacation,” Melnick said.
In Lauren Lewis’ case, it’s a trip that involves an intercontinental move.
“I'm so much more relaxed right now than I normally am trying to get through the airport,” she said.