Many people know that there is always more than what meets the eye. This is true in many aspects of your life, but some of these moments are a little harder to spot than others, like what happens before you get on the plane and take off towards your destination. The following are some things that happen behind the scenes.
There is a lot that you do not know about the flight attendant's job. For one, flight attendants are paid under the flight-only policy, meaning they get their hourly rate when the flight actually starts. Think about that for a moment. This means that the pre-flight tasks you see flight attendants do are done for $1.50 an hour, which is almost free.
Asking your attendant to help you cram those bags into the overhead bins or help you find your seat are tasks these individuals are hardly getting paid for. It should also be noted that delays, cancellations, and layovers hurt flight attendants even more because they lose pay.
The job also requires you to deal with bizarre situations. Flight attendants have to prepare for any and all possibilities. Of course, some of them have dealt with irate passengers, but there is a lot more to tell.
For example, some passengers have tried to sneak in dead bodies to fly with them to their destination. This may sound odd, but transporting a dead body on a flight can cost up to $5,000, so it is understandable why this happens. As you can imagine, this situation puts flight attendants in a very uncomfortable position, not to mention how traumatic it could be.
Most regular folks do not know much about the "load plan," but it is a very laborious and involved plan that starts the moment you drop off your luggage. The luggage is weight, and that information is placed in a database that helps others figure out where to load this piece of luggage. It has to be in the right place on the plane to make sure the plane is balanced for the safety of everyone on board.
The plan does not end with strategically loading bags onto a plane. Everyone involved also has to be on top of missing passengers or where passengers end up sitting in a particular flight. Any little change in the position of a passenger could affect the overall balance of a plane.
Frequent flyers have probably noticed a time when rows of seats were left empty for some reason.Flight attendants may even instruct passengers not to sit in those seats. It may seem arbitrary, but the truth is that this is sometimes done to balance the plane out along with luggage distribution.
Fueling is a team effort and it is a complicated one. The captain of the flight plays a role in this process. This individual checks the manifest, which tells him or her how much fuel is going to be used to get to the destination and ensures that this amount of fuel is inside the plane. The pilot does this while going through the pre-flight checklist, which is quite lengthy and includes things like preparing to deal with turbulence if the weather is bad along the flight plan.
The airline's operations team is the group of people who have calculated just how much fuel is going to be needed throughout the day. The fuel is added according to the plan set out by this team, which is done to conserve fuel and save money. Now, fueling normally occurs as soon as the plan lands after a flight when the luggage is being unloaded. This is done because it can take some time to fully refuel a plane, but there are times when refueling happens at later stages though this could delay flights so it is avoided.
Sometimes, big tanker trucks are brought to the plane, which connect to the plane's fuel system. This is located under one of the wings of the plane. There are times when the plane is refueled using a pumper truck instead, which is done a little differently. The truck hooks up to a fuel hydrant, which is at the ramp. Once this connection is secured, the fueling specialist hooks up to the plane's tank and pumps the predetermined amount of fuel. The predetermined amount does include the additional fuel placed in planes just in case of an emergency.
Most passengers just worry about getting to their destination in time, but they do not consider all the things that those who serve them have to go through in order to ensure a safe and pleasant flight. It may be a good idea to consider some of these behind the scenes happenings before your next flight, so you can learn to appreciate these individuals a little more.
Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist for Quality Fuel Trailer and Tank.
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