What its like working in an International airport. Part 2.

‘You loved it so I brought it back’ I hate it when online retailers say this, but this is how I feel right now. I got the most ‘traffic’ on my website when I wrote about my time in the airport and my airport friends felt the pain and my non-airport friends found it interesting.

So I’ll start at the emotional side of the airport, it defiantly does mess with your emotions; I could be in arrivals one minute watching somebody get proposed too or them meeting up with their family they haven’t seen for a long time, and next minute be up in departures dealing with a loud mouthed nob screaming in my face.

I once had a flight get delayed (shock), and eventually cancel.

I’d managed to find 2 spare seats on an aircraft on another airline that would arrive in Chicago at near enough the same time as ours was supposed to.

I was made aware that there was an elderly couple, the man was American but living in the UK going to Chicago for a funeral of his sister. The other couple was a lady and her son travelling back home to Chicago so her son could complete his exams to get into a good high school.

After about 5 minutes of umming and arring, (at this point neither of the passengers knew we had found seats). The lady who was with her son approached me and starting screaming in my face saying I’m a fucking bitch and I’m jeopardising her son’s future. Other than say OK repeatedly and smile at the lady she went to hit me, fortunately another passenger grabbed her and pulled her back before she could.

As much as I initially wanted to help both sets of people, the loud mouthed gobby cow could wait 5 weeks now for all I care.

After my encounter with the loud mouthed bitch my decision was easily made, I decided to send the elderly couple on the flight so they could make the funeral.

I received the biggest hug and a thank you off the couple and they went on their way, unfortunately for me, I was then stuck with the bitch and her son for another day until they traveled the day after.

Customer service?

You get it everywhere, and every job requires it. Customer service at 4am is hard fucking work, trust me.

When I was working on the Bureau de change, I got rated 0 in my mystery shopper review – I count it as a major achievement, plus the mystery shopper said I had ginger hair so I’m telling you I’ll always deny it was me.

Apparently I looked disinterested (probably was) and tired (yes Hun it was 4am… on a Saturday!) But she rated me 0 and I got pulled into a meeting with my manager. I’ll always thank him for the fact he never shouted at me that day, never moaned, never fired me just said ‘Lizi you were probably tired and she is probably right but please, please act more interested in future’, yeah yeah sure.

But seriously interested? I was bored out my brains, for security reasons we weren’t allowed to use our phones, and we only got 60 minutes of internet time a day. I’m 19, its Saturday and I’m on an 11 hour shift Hun I’m just really not that interested in counting money and getting moaned at for the shit rate. Surprisingly the rate just isn’t the staff’s decision.

Surprisingly my customer service improved; I’ve collected forgotten suitcases from taxi’s, ran people to the gate so they don’t miss their flight, looked after children flying alone, and wiped tears away from people saying goodbye to their families. I got pretty damn good.

No – one enjoys a delayed flight.

Flights do get delayed and flights do get cancelled, unfortunately for you and unfortunate for airport staff.

When flights get delayed airport staff have to do overtime, sometimes without any choice. Forget the plans you have after work you’re staying until this flight goes, and you’re also staying half an hour after its air bound just in case it turns around (it never does).

For my non airport people, air bound means when the flight is in the air.

So don’t scream when you have a delayed flight, because the staff will want to scream just as much as you do!

‘I’ll see you on the plane’. – No, you won’t.

A major myth of the airport is that the check-in staff are also your cabin crew. Could you imagine? Recently my friend, had a major debate in her office about this. Apparently there was people in her office that were ADAMNET this happened.

Well forget the myth, because it doesn’t.

It never has, and never will. They are completely separate jobs.

If you see somebody on your aircraft that checked you in, (it’d never be when you are in the sky it’ll always be on the ground) it’ll be because they are doing a seat check. Surprisingly people go missing after check-in and never turn up to the aircraft. Check in and boarding staff have to check they haven’t slipped through the net and just double check the seat just in case

There’s a lot of things about the airport you wouldn’t know unless you worked there, like everywhere I suppose.

Those barriers you spend countless hours queuing and waiting to check in for a flight, you think they were put there by a fairy? Those barriers are the bane of every check-in staff’s life.

They are heavy, some don’t have wheels, they have to go in a certain pattern, and some don’t attach to other ones.

It’s just a logistical nightmare and with 4 hours sleep they are even worse.

Passengers get talked about, weather its good or bad unsurprisingly we will talk.

Did you see her shoes? He is deffo punching with her! What do you think of the PAX in seat 32B? Do you think she’s a stripper? OMG did you see seat 45D’s lips, TOO MUCH! Would you really wear that body con dress and heels on a flight?

As well as us all talking about passengers, there’s also a lot of gossip inside the airport. Everyone has had a fling with someone else in the airport, and if you say you haven’t – you’re lying.

‘Did you know Bill from Easy Jet is married to Rachel off Virgin? And Tim from Thomas Cook is shagging Becky from Duty free AND Holly off Ryanair.

I absolutely miss that juicy gossip flying across check-in desks.

I hope you liked this installment of the blog, there is a saying in the airport ‘when somebody enters the airport, they lose their brains’. So please bear this in mind when you next go away, always be thankful to the staff, we can’t accept tips but we can accept chocolates, and please please please – just don’t be a thicko.

Lizi XX