10 things we’d really like you to know.

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(From an Airline Customer Service Agent).

1. Be on time. If you run in 15 minutes before your flight and then proceed to curse me out that I won’t let you on, I will call the police. It’s your responsibility to be on time. If you’re late because you’ve been at the airport queuing for half an hour, then that’s different. But if you’re just late because you didn’t leave on time, that’s not our problem. It’s not a bus. You can’t run chasing after it. Read your booking.
At -15, we close acceptance for boarding.
If you’re here exactly at this time, we can maybe get you on.
At -10, we are in the stages of final call.
You have no chance. Stop whining. Go rebook at the reservations counter.
At -5, everyone is on board.
We are closing the door on the aircraft.

2. Queue correctly. When you come to queue up, check the screens and get into the correct line. If you’re not sure, ask. Don’t get pissed at us if you get to the front of the business class queue and we send you to the economy queue and you have to wait another 20 minutes.
3. WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE CALLED. No, seriously. That wee sign at the front of the queue that says that is not just for show. We are not ignoring you, being rude, or being slow (well most of us). We often have bags to tag up, because we have let our passenger go so they don’t have to wait and watch us do it, or we have one or two more things to type into the computer. When we push the bag release button and look up at you to say ‘hello’ or ‘next’ (and hopefully smile), you are welcome to come on up. We’ll be friendlier, less stressed/pressured, and much more interested in giving you our best service.
4. Say hello. There’s nothing worse than the passenger who just barks, “Smith, Auckland.” Like, honestly? I’m not a mind reader. What flight to Auckland. Which Smith. And I’m not a machine. If you wanted a machine, go use the kiosk to check in. I am a human being. Greet me, be nice to me. Don’t grumble when we ask for ID. We’re required to. Don’t grumble when we ask the security questions. We’re required to. And I know your day has probably been shit, but so has ours. Because we are grumped at by you all day long.
5. Pay your excess. If you can’t afford to take 30 kilos, you can’t afford to take 30 kilos. I don’t have some magical power that means I can waive it. I have to get my manager. We have to have a really good reason or a higher allowance somewhere in your booking. They’ll say no. Just repack. It’s in the terms and conditions of your ticket, which you are legally bound to when you click that “Yes I understand the terms and conditions of this ticket” box and buy your ticket.
6. Know your visa requirements. If you have lived in New Zealand for 30 years, but you’re on a British passport because you’ve never bothered to get a Kiwi one, then yes, you need a visa to enter Australia. It’s also part of the above-mentioned terms and conditions that you understand that it is your responsibility to check that you need a visa. Don’t make me feel bad about not letting you travel. Get one.
7. I cannot upgrade you. Gone are the days where you could smile sweetly or cry and get bumped up to business class. Check-in agents have no ability to do that. Reservations agents have no ability to do that, unless you use airpoints or money to upgrade yourself. Under very special circumstances, the team manager can authorise an upgrade.
8. There are only limited exit row seats. Unless you are 6’6″, it’s hard to wrangle anything otherwise. If they’re gone, they’re gone.
9. I cannot check you in for tomorrow. If you’re not flying today, I can’t do it. You can check in domestically online, or internationally 3 hours before departure, sorry. Also, you cannot tag your bags through to tomorrow (unless it is continuous travel, ie. leaving here tonight, going to Singapore, going to London technically tomorrow morning). If you are flying to Auckland to stay the night, then flying out internationally in the morning, you have to check in with your airline at the international terminal tomorrow. Sorry.
10. NO BOMB JOKES. We have to take it seriously. You laugh and apologise, but hey, I’m sorry, too. We will tell our supervisor. They will call Aviation Security. They will call the Airport police. You will be offloaded. And then the pilot on the next flight will be asked if you are allowed to fly. Don’t risk it. We’ve had passengers stay overnight in Wellington as they have missed the last flight saying this. It happens.
Thank you, and have a nice day.
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Well that was.. special.

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While taxiing down the runway, preparing for take-off, the cabin crew on our 7am flight this morning were in the process of explaining the emergency exit procedure (including how to open the door) to the passengers seated in the exit rows.

One bright spark sitting right next to the door decided that he would test opening the door as he was being briefed.
 
So the plane returned to the gate, I returned and put the airbridge back on, and we waited for the engineer to clear the plane for disembarking. Again.
 
And off it went again at 7.18am.
 
I wonder how stupid that guy feels.. but at least I had a laugh.

3, 2, 1, blast off!

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Number of bobby pins in my hair today: 12

New ladders in my pantyhose: 3

Planes I touched: 4

Hours spent learning about Dangerous Goods: 4

Seats on an Airbus A320: 144

Number of days left in initial training: 46

Dernier of regulation pantyhose: 15

Can you tell I have a new job? I’m only 3rd day in, but soon I’ll be checking bags and taking boarding passes and making those annoying calls over and OVER for Mr JONES WOULD YOU PLEASE COME TO YOUR GATE (YOU TWAT).

I’m currently shadowing people and trying to learn as much as I can. Highlights of today include:

  • Passing my dangerous goods exam and adding another card to my passes
  • Spending an hour on the tarmac, where I ended up meeting new faces
  • Lowering the trebble! (cargo lift/rollers vehicle)
  • Driving the push-back vehicle (pushes the plane away from the gate) – well, back and forth in a line, without a plane, of course.
  • Standing underneath (and touching, of course) the Airbus A320.

I’m loving it so far, and I’ll let you know more when I’ve been there longer. But I think I’ve struck a gold job.

(Apologies for my absence of late, another new post this weekend!).