In the latest installment of our Delta job swap series, flight attendant Susan Barr traded places with Airport Customer Service ramp agent Bridget Hanson. Both were excited to see Delta from a different perspective, especially Hanson. “I work with bags. They don’t talk much, so I’m excited to interact with our customers,” she said.
For flight attendants, there’s a lot more to their jobs than serving snacks and drinks. They are also responsible for ensuring all safety requirements are met on the aircraft and are CPR-certified and trained to provide emergency first aid assistance at a moment’s notice.
“I think the hardest part of my job is always being aware of situations that could happen at any moment, and always remembering that training,” said Barr.
Hanson admitted she didn’t realize everything that goes into being a flight attendant, pointing out that it’s a lot harder than it looks. “You have to be ‘on’ all the time… It’s go, go, go!”
She also said she learned an invaluable lesson about how her role overlaps with Barr’s. “Previously, I felt the flight attendants needed to worry more about the bags and not send so many down to us below wing. Now, I feel it’s really the flight attendant’s job to worry about the passenger… not about space in the overhead.”
While flight attendants help passengers settle in above wing, there’s a flurry of activity happening below wing with the ground crew. Ramp agents are responsible for lifting, loading, unloading and transporting baggage, mail and cargo to and from aircraft. On a busy day, the average baggage handler can manually load up to 1.5 tons of baggage and cargo — the same weight as most cars.
“The hardest part of my job is the time constraints… making sure everything is done on a timely basis,” said Hanson.
Another part of the job is maintaining the proper weight and balance of the aircraft, but everything that goes into this really surprised Barr.
“I think what surprised me most is all of the numbers that go into play here. I had no idea that the weight that I’m sending down changes their numbers, and it can really affect the flight getting out on time,” she said. “It’s important for my team to be proactive in the aisle, to be proactive with the gate agents. Everybody’s working as a team.”
Watch more of what they learned in their job swap in the video above, and check out the other job swap experiences here.