US Airways - December 2013 - (Page 12)
Making It Happen
behind the Scenes
of Your Flight
Baggage handlers, also
known as rampers, get
one heck of a workout.
scans the baggage tags and puts the bags on the
tractor's conveyor belt. Joe then loads the bags onto
a cart to be driven to baggage claim or to other
gates for passengers connecting to other flights.
10:20 - Tim compares the scanner's numbers
with the paperwork to ensure that all bags are
10:25-11 - After lunch, Tim heads back to the
ramp to load bags for his next scheduled flight.
"We usually start loading a plane 40 minutes before departure," he says.
11-11:30 - Tim, Joe, and Kenny load 100 bags
weighing about 3,000 pounds.
11:30 - Tim walks to the jet bridge to make sure
there are no gate-check bags left in the area.
11:40 - Tim directs the plane as it pushes back
from the gate, and he salutes the captain.
He'll do this all over again for one more flight
arriving from Dublin and then call it a day. "I estimate that I load and unload about thirty thousand
pounds each day. It keeps me physically and mentally in shape," he says. That's not the only thing he
enjoys about his job. "There's a real family atmosphere here, and I like that."
photo by brian gomsak
It's 9 a.m. and Tim Brown, a ramper in
Charlotte, has already been at work for
nearly four hours, loading and unloading baggage.
He started on the ramp (airline lingo for the tarmac area outside the gates) in 1982. After several
years in other positions with the airline, he came
back to the ramp because he wanted to see "if I
could still physically do it," he says.
We caught up with Tim to follow him through
a typical shift - but let him do the heavy lifting.
9:45 a.m. - Tim checks a computer and sees that
the next flight he's unloading is within range. He
prints the paperwork, which lists the number of
bags on the plane and their total weight (9,700
pounds). He grabs his earplugs and kneepads and
9:59 - Tim helps direct the plane to the gate.
When it stops, he places chocks around the front
tire, hooks up the push-back tractor, and opens the
rear cargo door.
10-10:18 - Tim and two other members of his
group, Joe and Kenny, help unload the rear cargo
compartment (a "bin" in airline speak). Tim is
inside the bin handing bags to Kenny, who then
by Tara Titcombe
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of US Airways - December 2013
Table of Contents
From the Editor
Did You Know?
Making It Happen
Hot Spots: Vacation Memories
Hub Crawl: Miami International Airport
Wine & Dine: Holiday Fizz
Diversions: Going Whole Hog
Diversions: Time Travel
Style Spotlight: Holiday Bling
Adventure: North Carolina's High Country
Adventure: Arizona Story
Adventure: Sled Dog Racing
Gear Up: Stocking Stuffers
Great Escapes: Charleston Place Hotel
Great Escapes: Hotel Palomar in Washington, DC
Travel Feature: Costa Rica
US Airways: Tower Talk
Celebrate Tucson, AZ
Health Matters: Miami Foot and Ankle Surgery
Must Read: I Got Schooled
Readers Resource Index
Your US Airways Guide
U.S. and Caribbean Service Map
International Service Map
Airport Terminal Maps
US Airways Fleet/Customs & Immigration
Passenger Info/Contact US Airways
US Airways MarketPlace®
Window or Aisle?
US Airways - December 2013