AMA - Airport Coordinator & Ex baggage handler

mashoo

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I’ve been working for WestJet since 2012 and this is my AMA. I began as a baggage handler, moved up to a ramp Crew Chief, and now I’m an airport daily duty coordinator at the Calgary Airport.

I am open to answering questions pertaining to life on the ramp and working as a coordinator.

As a baggage handler, it would be as much as you’d expect. Load and offload the baggage/cargo on planes, fill the plane with potable water, empty the lavatories, etc.

As a coordinator, I plan and manage the ramp manpower. This entails assigning duties and crews to flights. I schedule what flights enter which gates. I work with our OPS department, maintenance department, IROP/Guest solutions.

Currently with the COVID crisis happening, lots of changes are happening at WestJet. A conference with the CEO just happened and the plan is to drop from 200 flights network wide, to 80 in May. YYC alone averages 112 flights daily and we will be looking at approximately 30 flights a day.

Just a small background, but feel free to ask and I’ll answer what I can. I am not a plane nerd and know very little about planes themselves lol.
 

mashoo

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If you were to have to check a bag, what bag would be your go-to and why?

I check bags and I tell everyone this. Get a hard case bag. Do not get a cloth/soft shell luggage. When it is raining and snowing, we put your bags in the carts to protect it from the weather but we can't prevent it from getting soaked. If a bag falls on the ramp and it's pouring? That soft shell is getting soaked. The inside pit of planes, where baggage goes, doesn't get cleaned often, if at all. Guys will track snow and water when they get in. Also, people have checked bags with luggage and the bottles break, it will soak other bags.

I've seen numerous bags with bottles in it break and then the liquid soaks other bags. Also when seafood gets shipped as cargo, and that breaks? You do not want seafood liquid soaking into your clothes.
 

mashoo

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I don’t have any questions but I do thank you for what you do right now and every time I fly.

Appreciate it! When I was a baggage handler, all we want is a thanks when we bring up your gate checked strollers, guitars, etc and for you not to comment on the weather when it's winter. It gets old quick when people are going somewhere warm and we're grabbing gate checks and passengers comment on how cold it is out...in their shorts lol.
 

abby99

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If I ever fly again (unlikely), I'll get a hard case bag for sure. Or maybe a Pelican case. ;)
 

Racer96

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Do you recommend printing out large pictures of peoples faces and plastering them all over the bags?
 

mashoo

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If I ever fly again (unlikely), I'll get a hard case bag for sure. Or maybe a Pelican case. ;)

Pelican cases are great. Only negative I have experienced with these are, if fragile tags are attached, they are more likely to be ignored. Everyone knows how tough and durable these are so it's more likely to get treated like a normal hard case and not put down the fragile belt.
 

mashoo

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Do you recommend printing out large pictures of peoples faces and plastering them all over the bags?

As a prank, we do this to colleagues when they fly and we find their checked bag lol. We usually tape their work ID photo all over.

For a flying guest, honestly yes. There are a lot of times where people tag their bags with ribbons or something similar, and if it comes off then your bag looks no different than someone else. Lots of guests have their bag taken by someone else at the carasoul because it looks so similar and they don't read the bag tag attached.
 

Racer96

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As a prank, we do this to colleagues when they fly and we find their checked bag lol. We usually tape their work ID photo all over.

For a flying guest, honestly yes. There are a lot of times where people tag their bags with ribbons or something similar, and if it comes off then your bag looks no different than someone else. Lots of guests have their bag taken by someone else at the carasoul because it looks so similar and they don't read the bag tag attached.
I actually only posted that because I remembered an old post of yours , showing luggage that was just giant portraits all over it.
 

mashoo

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What is your biggest complaint on the job?

That crews have been overworked. When you're working on the ramp, you work on a crew with a lead. A lot of people complain that they're too busy. When a plane comes in and then goes out, it's called a 'turn'.

Some turns are anywhere from minimum turn time, 45 minutes, to 3 hours. But here's the thing, let's say you work an 8 hour shift and you do 4 turns they're an hour each. So of your 8 hours, you really only worked 4. Time between turns is your break. So crews like to complain if they get stuck with less than an hour in between flights and I used to work on the ramp so I actually know how busy you are. Plus I'm the one making your schedule so I'm very aware of what your assigned flights and how heavy they are.

My #1 complaint by far.
 

mashoo

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I actually only posted that because I remembered an old post of yours , showing luggage that was just giant portraits all over it.

Hahaha, felt like I was being set up there but it's legit though, I think it's an easy way to make sure your bags are easily identified.
 

mashoo

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@mashoo Whao.. nice to find a fellow PCFer working in the same industry.... I work in Ops Control Center for an airline.

It's wild right now in the industry. We get a list of cancellations on the daily from our ops team and trying to organize grounded planes is a pain lol
 

mashoo

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Made the cut for round 2 of layoffs today.

just a small sample of planes doing nothing
IMG_20200409_201532.jpg


IMG_20200409_201834.jpg
 

mashoo

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A small update since my last post. I've survived round 3 of layoffs and we're working bare bones with staffing.

A positive that I've found is that I am now training people in relief positions to be able to do my job and it's given me a responsibility that I enjoy having.

Let's finish this small update with a fun tidbit. When we load planes, if a crew finds a bag that vibrates, we are required to inspect it with a manager. Please remove batteries for toothbrushe and shaving devices. I would also advise that adult toys have their batteries taken out as well. I've personally had to inspect 3 bags with these devices and it can be a funny find lol.
 

Pinesol13

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A small update since my last post. I've survived round 3 of layoffs and we're working bare bones with staffing.

A positive that I've found is that I am now training people in relief positions to be able to do my job and it's given me a responsibility that I enjoy having.

Let's finish this small update with a fun tidbit. When we load planes, if a crew finds a bag that vibrates, we are required to inspect it with a manager. Please remove batteries for toothbrushe and shaving devices. I would also advise that adult toys have their batteries taken out as well. I've personally had to inspect 3 bags with these devices and it can be a funny find lol.


:ROFL: :ROFLMAO: :ROFL: :ROFLMAO: :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:
 
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