It's "rush hour" at Memphis International Airport (MEM). Soon after a plane touches down, passengers are jostling through the gates, carryon luggage in tow and cell phones pressed to ears, rushing off to their connecting flights. As travellers brush past, airport personnel strive to help passengers who need information or have special needs. The scene is being repeated throughout Memphis International Airport, which is unusual in that approximately one third of all daily flights take off or land within a 70- to 90-minute period.
Delta Global Services (DGS) brings some order amid this chaos. DGS is responsible for providing wheelchair assistance for all three terminals and 98 gates at MEM. If a passenger isn't picked up within minutes of requesting a wheelchair, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) can issue a minimum fine of several thousand dollars per occurrence. If the passenger is picked up late, and as a result is late arriving for a connecting flight, the airline can be fined for two occurrences. Industry-wide fines were estimated at more than $3M in 2010.