US Airways - March 2013 - 12


Making It Happen

Behind the Scenes
of Your Flight

12:42 Michelle explains some of the boarding

All in a Day’s Work
We follow Michelle Parks, a US Airways
gate agent in Phoenix, to learn the job —
By Tara Titcombe
and get a workout.


12 p.m. Michelle clocks in and checks the


march 2013

photos BY christopher Barr

schedule for her gate assignments. She
writes down the first three gates and flights she’ll
be handling, but she notes that she’ll have to check
back often for any gate changes.
12:11 Michelle
heads to her first
gate to meet an
incoming flight
and then board it
for a trip to Los
Angeles. She gets
to the gate early
to review the
outgoing flight’s
status and print
out paperwork.

computer system. The screen shows a diagram of
the plane’s seats, which change colors as passengers
board. Green indicates passengers onboard, yellow
indicates assigned seats for passengers who haven’t
boarded yet, and blue indicates available seats.
12:49 The incoming flight is running a few minutes behind, so Michelle will have to do a quick
turnaround to make sure the flight to LA leaves on
schedule. To save time, she walks around the gate
area to tag carry-on items that will need to be
checked at the gate.
12:55 After the arriving flight pulls into the gate,
the next ten minutes are a blur. Michelle walks
down the jet bridge to connect it to the plane door
and then hurries back up before anyone gets off the
plane. As the arriving passengers begin to exit,
Michelle calls for wheelchair assistance to help two
passengers. She also checks gates for people with
connecting flights, gives directions to baggage
claim, makes sure that the cleaning and catering
crews are on board, and runs down to the plane to
retrieve a passenger’s forgotten e-reader.
1:15 When the plane is ready for boarding,
Michelle works the desk to help passengers upgrade to First Class, switch seats, and rearrange
seating so a family can be together.
1:20 Boarding begins. Michelle works the desk
while another gate agent makes the announcements and scans tickets. As passengers board,
Michelle adds an infant’s name in the system
for a pass, counts carry-on bags, and makes sure
an emotional-support animal has the proper
documentation to fly.
1:35 Michelle makes a final boarding call for the
flight to LA.
1:38 Michelle prints the final paperwork with the
passenger count and walks down the jet bridge to
give it to the flight attendants and the captain.
1:40 Plane doors close and the jet bridge retracts.
1:43 Michelle signs the final paperwork and drops
it in a box near the gate.
1:45 Michelle heads to her next assigned gate —
a flight arriving from San Francisco and then
departing for Boston. And after that, two more
flights to go.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of US Airways - March 2013

US Airways - March 2013
Table of Contents
CEO Letter
From the Editor
Did You Know?
Making It Happen
Hot Spots: Best Musical Pilgrimages
Hub Crawl: Denver Airport
Wine & Dine: Chef's Tables
Wine & Dine: Artisan Cheeses
Great Escapes: Cypress Inn
Adventure: Washington, DC by Bike
Great Escapes: The Gathering in Ireland
Adventure: Puerto Rico Golf
Charlotte EDC
Great Escapes: Barcelo Hotels and Resorts
Gear Up: The Smart Kitchen
Travel Feature: The Rome Less Traveled
US Airways Feature: Order Up!
Great Tastes: Phoenix Dining
From Philly, With Love
Route of Discovery: San Luis Obispo, California
Atlantic 10 Conference
Great Dates
Readers Resource Index
Your US Airways Guide
Video Entertainment
Audio Entertainment
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 - March 2013