Skycap turns bag problems into dollars

By Justin Boron

Think of the weirdest object to carry on a plane, and he'll package it.

Kelvin J. Russell, owner of Wrap-A-Bag, Inc. said he has fit everything from surf boards to toilets into packages suitable for air travel. The saying ”everything but the kitchen sink“ doesn't even apply to him because he said he's wrapped one of those too.

Mostly it's just suitcases, he said.

But the business in the main terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport caters to pretty much any baggage need that falls under storage or packaging.

Whether its with cardboard, a security plastic, or bubble wrap, he said he can get the job done.

Russell is also the vice-president for another suitcase-related company SkyCo Aviation Services which supplies skycaps for United Airlines and the international carriers.

The 40-year old ex-military man didn't think his life would be so centered around baggage but he said he is happy with where he is at in life.

Russell said he first got into bags when his friend helped get him a job as a skycap in 1988.

Tossing bags everyday, he quickly found that passengers are often unprepared when they get to the airport. That, or their suitcase breaks, or they've brought more bags than they are allotted for their plane ticket.

”I had a lot of requests from passengers that needed supplies,“ he said, explaining that they asked tape, wrap, and boxes to patch together a split zippers and tape open boxes.

The demand pushed him to open a business supplying those products.

By the time the Olympics came to Atlanta, he had set up and his business flourished amid the high traffic through the airport at the time.

Russell said his business also specializes in saving passengers money on extra bags that exceed airline's limit. He said he can consolidate several bags into one box.

Russell went on later to start another business with his friend Carlos Maisonet, his comrade from the Navy that introduced him to luggage about eight years before.

Now, the duo works between the two companies. Russell said he even gets back out to throw bags every now and then.