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In the latest installment of our Delta job swap series, Detroit tower agent Jay Taylor from the airline’s Airport Customer Service division traded places with Stan Smith, who is a systems operations manager in Atlanta’s Operations and Customer Center (OCC).

Taylor acts as the conductor of the runway, coordinating with the FAA on the arrival and departure of all Delta flights. Tower agents ensure there is a gate for every aircraft and also facilitate switching out aircraft or equipment should there be a mechanical issue. They also make sure emergency personnel are ready in case of a medical emergency.

“It’s a very unique perspective to see operations at the ground level. It’s a very critical role, especially when they deal with IROPs (irregular operations) such as weather and moving airplanes around,” said Smith.

The two then moved from a bird’s eye view of Delta's operation in Detroit to a high-level overview of the entire airline at the OCC, located at Delta's headquarters in Atlanta.

The OCC is the heartbeat of the airline, balancing the planned schedule with operational constraints and disruptions, all while achieving top-tier industry performance. Each moment, the team in the OCC – from meteorologists to flight dispatchers to Boeing and Airbus aircraft specialists – is in close contact with the rest of the operation to ensure efficiency, reliability and safety. 

“Every division is represented in the OCC… It’s amazing to watch these people work to make this thing come together,” said Smith.

Watch more of what they learned in their job swap in the video above, and check out the other job swap experiences here.

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