Hello there, fine strangers!

I'm Adam, and I've been doing baggage handling at an airport for a while, while also doing some ramp stuff. I'm up to answering basically anything other than anything that will tell u guys which airport I'm at, who my employer is, and anything else related to security at my airport.

MODS: Due to the security-intensive nature of the job, I can't send proof publicly, this can be done via modmail. I have the verification template all sorted.

EDIT (2023-07-06T01:45Z): alright, guys, it's been fun! It's almost 3am over here rn so imma go and get some sleep... If I see any more I can answer later on I'll be answering those then

Comments: 527 • Responses: 111  • Date: 

blizzue485 karma

Airline pilot. What do we do that sucks? Anything we can do better to help you guys do your job?

Thanks for all you do under the wing!

SimPilotAdamT399 karma

You're welcome, buddy!

I haven't seen any pilots do anything too annoying for us, though there have been a couple of things. On a few occasions, I've seen some pilots forget to turn off the anticol beacon lights, which leave us waiting for a long while before attempting to approach the aircraft, even if the engines are off with all power going through the APU. Other times I've noticed aircraft coming onto stand with landing flaps still extended, without having had any kind of suspected bird strike. Since we have to drive our baggage carts underneath the trailing edge of the wings, having flaps 40 extended on your B738 is going to mean that we can't do that, causing minor delays.

Other than that I can't think of anything else. You guys rock up there on the flight deck!

Speaking of, out of curiosity, what planes are you type rated on?

Matti_Matti_Matti26 karma

Aren’t those the sort of thing that should be covered by a checklist?

SimPilotAdamT31 karma

Ik it is on the Boeing 737NG shutdown checklist, but it might not be there for everyone, it depends on the plane and the airline.

Novel_Philosopher_1811 karma

What about us mechanics?

Also as stated above, aviation is a team effort, thanks for all you do.

SimPilotAdamT16 karma

I haven't got any gripes w anything u guys do as mechanics, at my company we keep out of each other's way.

Is there anything that is baggage loaders do that annoy you guys as mechanics?

JCDU186 karma

What's the best / worst luggage to buy?

SimPilotAdamT367 karma

Some of the worst bags to buy are the ones which have no wheels. In my airline, none of our holds are bin loaded, so we have to manually stack the bags inside each hold, and they can get fairly long. If your bag has at least 2 high quality wheels, then it allows us to roll them down the hold quickly, making it easier for us. Otherwise, we have to throw the bags in order to keep to the scheduled times.

My absolute least favourite bags are the ones that have 4 wheels, but one of them is seized up, so we try to roll it down, but it just falls over after moving 6 inches.

typesett167 karma

This is useful

Be basic bitch 2 wheels and keep it simple

SimPilotAdamT117 karma

Bitchu absolutely right

JoeyJoeJoeJrShab37 karma

In my experience, luggage with 2 wheels is incredibly difficult to come by. It feels like once one company decided to start making 4-wheel bags, they and everyone else stopped making the 2-wheel ones.

SimPilotAdamT31 karma

4-wheelers are generally preferred, but 2-wheeled-ones are also fine, if u find them.

Rabid_Dingo89 karma

I used to handle bags. The multiple zipper expanding tubes with 4 tiny wheels on the bottom are garbage.

Square ones also suck.

Both mess up the stack pattern and forced me to adjust.

I had always wished on airlines issuing standard bags for use. If all bags were the same, it would be a dream..

Don't get slick hard sided. They slide off or these slide off out of place.

SimPilotAdamT40 karma

Yep, sounds about right. I haven't had too many issues with the slick ones, tho...

illuminatisdeepdish161 karma

Any tips for avoiding baggage being lost destroyed? Best/worst types of suitcases/bags?

SimPilotAdamT216 karma

We see a lot of bags that look exactly identical to one another going on the same flight. One good way I've seen is to put your own tag on the bag with your name and address, so that you can read this and make sure it's yours. Other ways include using unique straps that wrap around the bags.

To stop stuff getting damaged, you want to have a bag that has 4 good wheels, with soft lining on the inside and a hard outer shell. The wheels are important bc we tend to throw those bags less when inside the hold of an aircraft, and the other features help keep your stuff cushioned.

wooktar10 karma

I’m assuming you’re talking mostly about 737s when you mention the long holds/bulk. Do you guys not have snake belts?

SimPilotAdamT15 karma

We do not have those...

wooktar14 karma

Damn I just did several bulk loads of 120+ bags today and I can’t imagine doing it without one. Do you at least have 2 people in the hold when loading?

SimPilotAdamT12 karma

Always at least 2 ppl in the hold, sometimes a third

jhicks0506-31 karma

You literally just made a comment about how 4 wheel bags are bad…which is it?

SimPilotAdamT12 karma

I'll let the others who actually read that comment speak for me here

Zerowantuthri106 karma

I arrived at O'Hare Airport (Chicago) a couple weeks ago at the international terminal. I stood in line for immigration control and whatnot and didn't get to the baggage hall until 45 minutes after we landed. No luggage.

It wasn't until about 70 minutes that luggage started coming through and mine showed up around 85 minutes after landing.

FWIW it was a big plane, a 787.

Is there a reason it takes over an hour for the first bag to make it from the plane to the baggage claim?

SimPilotAdamT96 karma

So, Boeing 787s are a hell of a lot bigger than the planes we normally deal with at my company. They're also bin loaded, whereas our planes are not.

The most likely issues can be mechanical ones, breakdown of equipment, the door not being able to open, or even a security issue. O'Hare airport is a big one, so it is possible that bags have to be driven around more at slower speeds before actually getting to the belt.

At my company, we aim to have all bags inside the baggage hall within 45 minutes at most, but I have done some offloads of A321s with 220 bags on board within half an hour.

EDIT: u/Rabid_Dingo has a better answer for ya here

BourbonDrunkBecky84 karma

How hot is it in the cargo hold while loading baggage?

SimPilotAdamT131 karma

It depends. Generally it can get 5°C hotter inside than out. Last summer, it hit 40°C outside, making the temperature in some holds exceed 50°C. The key for us is finessing technique, as well as drinking a whole lotta water. In that 50°C hold, the guy I was with drank an entire 2l bottle of water to himself.

breakfastturds127 karma

Not a baggage handler in America confirmed. One step closer to your secret identity

SimPilotAdamT68 karma

Lmao it'll take a lot more than that to find my airport

jim65350 karma

Well, you said the storm was over you yesterday and was over Amsterdam this morning and is now over mainland Europe, so I'm guessing the UK or Ireland. Dublin had a lot of delays yesterday, I think.

SimPilotAdamT47 karma

And that's as close as anyone is getting

Yz-Guy21 karma

It's always fascinating how much people can extrapolate from so little

SimPilotAdamT12 karma


Ballerin1410 karma

You work at gatwick airport.. don’t ya mate?

SimPilotAdamT11 karma


SuperJinnx4 karma

London city airport. I know it

SimPilotAdamT7 karma


nowake5 karma

Ah, Tempelhof airport in Berlin!

SimPilotAdamT3 karma

Nope, not even Schönfeld (now known as Brandenburg)

8690663 karma

Definitely Luton, that or Heathrow

SimPilotAdamT7 karma


TheDrMonocle5 karma

London stansted.

SimPilotAdamT9 karma

I can see why you thought that from the cockpit pic I posted but no

TheDrMonocle8 karma

So you're just hopping into cockpits at other airports now? Haha, suppose you could work at a different airport mainly, but at least in the US, that's extremely uncommon so i took a chance.

Still convinced that photo is from there. No way another airport has the exact same airport elevation, ILS freq, runway heading, and what I believe to be the same tower freq.

SimPilotAdamT4 karma

Oh god I thought it was a different pic. Yeah I was visiting EGSS that day cos they needed the man power. Not my main airport but I am able to work out of there if the company needs.

AcidBathVampire5 karma

Yeah, I've worked loading furniture into trucks in a huge, super-hot warehouse, and finesse definitely goes a long way. Anything to do even 5% less work is beneficial.

SimPilotAdamT4 karma

Yep, it all adds up quickly

DarthLysergis56 karma

What was your worst day at work?

SimPilotAdamT87 karma

Yesterday, we had a bunch of delays all over the country, so I ended up having to jump between multiple roles on multiple flights at the same time. Didn't really help that it was raining in my area at the time, very heavy but just shy of being a storm. It's that storm that's rn over mainland Europe, it was over some of my mates I'm Amsterdam this morning

truelydorky55 karma

Ever happened to find a stow away in a plane? I assume it's very rare but rare doesn't mean never.

How big is the crew from start to finish to get the luggage from the gate to the plane? I assume there's machinery that does a lot of movement and stuff but how many actual people take care of this process? Just so I know how many people I will blame when my luggage gets lost.

SimPilotAdamT181 karma

Finding stowaways is exceptionally rare - I have never seen any myself. It is a legal requirement in the developed West for baggage handling companies to do "hold checks", essentially walking (more like crawling tbh) through the hold, making sure nothing is loose or hidden away inside. Anyone who does have access to the plane once a hold check will be an employee of the airport, the airline, or a third party contractor. When the hold is closed, we do up all the netting and check to make sure everyone who was on the ramp is accounted for before the hold is closed.

The team behind the scenes is actually very big, I'm going to start at the departure end.

At my airport, your bag will first go down a set of automated conveyor belts which send bags down chutes depending on the handling company who is handling your flight. Once down there, one of us baggage handlers will pick up your bag and take off one of the stickers from the airport-issued bag tag (this has critical information including the flight number, date of flight, destination, and a unique ID based on your boarding pass) for record-keeping. We load your bag into the "dolly" (dollies are the trailers we use to drive bags from the terminal to the plane, and vice versa) assigned to your plane. We stick the sticker from your bag onto a sheet attached to the dolly, so we know which bag was loaded onto which dolly. Once a dolly is full, we tow it up using one of those small electric tugs (we call them buggies) you see all over an airport up to an equipment parking area on the ramp. From there on, it's the ramp team who handles the bags. When a plane is in the zone (usually this is defined as being estimated 15-20 minutes from touchdown), either a ramp agent or a baggage handler will go to the equipment park of checked-in bags to collect the dollies of bags needed for their flight, towing them to the correct stand. The plane arrives on the stand, the team does the unload (I'll explain this further down) and then the team starts the onload, in accordance with instructions from the flight's dispatcher, who will tell us how many bags will go into each hold, as well as in what order the bags should go into the hold. Dispatchers have access to the full accurate number for the amount of bags that were checked in using an internal system, so they always know when something is off. The rest of the ramp team are only given an estimate. Once we finish that onload, we secure the hold of the aircraft and it's sent away for a (hopefully) on time departure. If any bags are missing, the dispatcher will radio around, asking if any further bags are still in the terminal, since a flight is not allowed to leave without all of the cargo that was scheduled to be onloaded. If the count of bags is higher than expected, this usually means that we haven't done our job properly, as we are supposed to check the tags of all bags being loaded. In this case, we have to take everything out of the holds, do a count of the bags and physically check all the tags to make sure they're all correct. We then send any bags for a different flight to the correct part of the airport, and then have a tonne of paperwork to do. If anyone doesn't turn up to board the flight, this is recorded on the system, and, if they have checked in bags, we have to go through the hold to find the bag of the missing passenger(s). We have had instances where a passenger has been so late that we finish offloading their bag, only for them to actually turn up for the flight. In that case, they're allowed to board and we have to re-load the bag.

For arrivals, we have empty dollies on hand, with an accurate count of how many bags are on board. We offload all of the bags from the hold and place them into the dollies, before driving them down into the terminal and putting every bag onto the right arrival baggage belt, as assigned by the airport. We aim at being as efficient as possible, here. With the goal of putting the last bag on the belt before the first passenger from that flight is through passport security.

Dollies are generally very secure, but on the off chance that a bag does fall out, then we use the tag attached in order to determine where it needs to go.

You wanted essentially a count of how many ppl are directly involved with your bags. We generally have at least 5 ppl in the terminal dealing with departure bags. Ramp teams generally consist of at least 4 ppl, including a dispatcher and a ramp team leader, but sometimes we can have 10 ppl on a stand helping out with a flight at any one time. You can easily start blaming 30 ppl for losing your bag. Generally we learn from our mistakes, and the procedures that my company uses aims at putting the amount of lost bags to an absolute minimum.

truelydorky41 karma

That is actually very impressive there's a lot more going on behind the scenes and I really took appreciation for. Thank you for the response and letting me know. Sorry if i came off angry i was not. I guessssssss it is good there are so many security points to keep unwanted visitors but the story would be entertaining.

SimPilotAdamT16 karma

No worries, man! I've had issues myself w that stuff, even with the company who I now work for.

dataispower2 karma

Is this a CHATGPT bot talking to us right now?

SimPilotAdamT7 karma

No, I'm not chatgpt... I do see why you'd think that tho lmao

bourj54 karma

How often do you dudes steal stuff?

SimPilotAdamT105 karma

Never, it's a big no-no. I've known a couple of dudes getting fired for trying as much

Brodman_area1142 karma

Interesting that this should pop up! Just yesterday I was at the zoo, and one of the guides was talking about shipping a huge 3 meter shark from Malaysia to the US. My question is how do you handle animals? Do they have a separate hold that's temp regulated? Do people make sure they have water and are handled gently? What does their setup look like and how does it work?

SimPilotAdamT61 karma

My company does not deal with live sea animals, for weight reasons, but for live land animals, they are kept in the same holds as the rest of the bags. The whole aircraft is pressurised and air conditioned to a good temperature, so all of the holds are temp regulated. We always make sure that every animal has food and water in its enclosure, and we have specialist animal handlers who help us move your pets around. We tend to use travel cases much like the ones I see ppl use on road trips, ensuring that they are secured to the bottom of the hold.

Always check with your airline before you travel about the rules, as everyone is different.

BurningTreeCorpse38 karma

First off I commend your adherence to security.

Are there big differences from your end to small vs big planes? Also how are delays and reroutes handles for baggage when people get split? Are the "cars" tagged? Is it all an automated system? Or what? I guess along the same is if someone misses their flight with a checked bag. Does a system flag it to go somewhere else?

SimPilotAdamT28 karma

Planes are planes, usually. The only real difference for us is how high we have to put the belt loaders, as well as the amount of bags we can fit on a plane.

Generally, our internal airline system has every bag on a plane listed, as well as the boarding pass info of every passenger for every bag. If a plane is diverted and we can't fly those passengers to their destinations, we take those bags and put them onto an arrival baggage belt assigned by the airport as if it's a normal arrival. From there it's as if you're arriving as normal, except the company will be arranging transport for you to get you where you need to be, free of charge.

Where a passenger does not board a flight and has checked in bags, this is flagged up in the system and the bag is immediately offloaded. We keep the bag until the passenger is found again.

The aim is to make sure that your bags stay at the airport/on the plane that you are at/on. If any issues are found, we look for you.

improbablydrunknlw10 karma

this is flagged up in the system and the bag is immediately offloaded

What happens if it was one of the first bags loaded? Everything comes off?

SimPilotAdamT12 karma

Yep. Massive nightmare.

Klkpalomo1337 karma

Hard case bags or cloth bags ? Which is better ?

SimPilotAdamT66 karma

If you don't mind your stuff being compressed, then soft case will do you fine, these tend to be more space efficient in the hold.

If you have anything kinda fragile, you want a hard case to keep that stuff protected

PhillipBrandon31 karma

How do you avoid heat stroke out on the tarmac?

What the hell is "tarmac" anyway?

acatinasweater60 karma

Not OP, but it’s short for Tarmacadam, a surfacing material made by combining crushed stone, sand, and tar, patented by Welsh inventor Edgar Purnell Hooley in 1902. It’s an example of genericization.

SimPilotAdamT23 karma

I couldn't have put it better than you

drewm9166 karma

I think you meant the other way around.

Matti_Matti_Matti3 karma

Adam knows what he means.

SimPilotAdamT3 karma

I do indeed

SimPilotAdamT2 karma

Yes I did, it's very late here lol

Diver_Gullible0 karma

Then let’s see u try

SimPilotAdamT19 karma

Normally we avoid heatstroke by drinking lots of water. On very hot days you'll sometimes see us pouring water over our heads.

As other ppl have said, tarmac is a generalisation. Aircraft maneuvering areas are actually never paved with tarmac, as actual tarmac can melt fairly easily. Normally, planes maneuver on asphalt or concrete.

owa0016 karma

How do you avoid heat stroke

Simple...just don't have it


SimPilotAdamT7 karma


funkiestj29 karma

do you have any amusing scuttlebut on the airtags in luggage are banned/not-banned kerfuffle? Not really your bailiwick but it might be a water cooler topic (unless you are Texas)

SimPilotAdamT49 karma

Yes, airtags are banned in our bags. We do understand that it's good knowing that your bag is in the right place, but usually devices like air tags have lithium batteries, which, under the right conditions, can be prone to a situation known as thermal runway, when the battery gets increasingly hotter and hotter uncontrollably, causing a fire. The crash of UPS flight 6 in Dubai was caused by a fire inside a shipment of lithium ion batteries that were on board.

charming_liar22 karma

Interesting. On this side of the pond the FAA has confirmed AirTags are allowed on checked baggage. I haven’t heard any differently from the EU.

SimPilotAdamT15 karma

Ig my company is one of the last erring on the side of caution 🤷‍♀️

spockgiirl2 karma

Lufthansa confirmed.

SimPilotAdamT3 karma

You wrong, my dude. I am not with Lufthansa.

mrshulgin21 karma

Do you feel that the industry has changed at all in recent years to put more pressure on ground staff to do things quickly at the expense of safety?

In reference to a video by Blancolirio about the ramper fatality in December.

SimPilotAdamT39 karma

The industry is aiming at being safer all the time. There are incidents, sure. Your video is absolutely valid.

At my company, there is always pressure to get planes out on time, but if we feel we are doing smth that is unsafe to anyone, then we revert to whatever we deem the most safe, regardless of any delays that may be caused. As soon as the reason for the delay is determined to be a safety issue, no disciplinary action is taken. We have a just culture, here, whereby any safety issues that are seen can be immediately reported without penalising anyone. This way we can catch issues before there is a major incident. It is always more expensive for an airline to have a safety incident than to have a flight go out late.

thiscouldbemassive21 karma

How do you load coffins and other similarly oversized, strangely shaped, or unusually heavy items?

WildStallyns23 karma

For coffins, large, and unwieldy objects it's not particularly difficult orher than the weight. Position the belt loader a tad farther from the bin than is normal (inches difference) allowing for more of the object to be within the confines of the bin- clearing the cargo door edges can be a challenge. If there's enough of the object within the cargo bin then it's pretty easy to turn the desired direction- forward or aft.

All heavy items are generally just handled with pure brawn once they enter the bin. There's often not enough room for more than 2 persons to simply push an object.

SimPilotAdamT22 karma

You must be a rampie

SimPilotAdamT17 karma

We generally don't handle very heavy things like coffins and oversized stuff at my company, with exceptions for wheelchairs/mobility scooters. Generally we will always be able to use our own belt loaders to load and unload everything that goes into the hold.

thiscouldbemassive4 karma

Do you get to ride the mobility scooters in?

SimPilotAdamT5 karma

Nope, they go up on the belt loader, handbrakes on. We then roll them into position and tie them down into the floor tight enough that if the plane was to fly upside down, the electric scooter remains firmly on the floor of the hold, upside down.

requite15 karma

A long-haul flight of mine was heavily delayed, to the point that the passengers would have been due full refunds on their tickets had it been delayed much longer.

Just in the nick of time, we were told that we could start boarding and, lo and behold, we arrived at our destination about 10 minutes before the refunds would have become payable. We were then told over the PA that most of our bags were still back at the airport where we came from.

My conspiracy theory - they intentionally stopped loading bags to ensure that the flight reached its destination before refunds were due. Is that plausible? Should I remove my tinfoil hat?

SimPilotAdamT22 karma


Damn, idk man, but even I would have my tin foil hat on. I just can't think of a plausible explanation

im_on_the_case15 karma

I've noticed that in the US you are able to gate check a stroller and get it back at the gate on the other side. However in Europe you have to wait ages with crying baby in hand to get it back at the oversized baggage carousel. Is this actually the case? Any specific reason why?

SimPilotAdamT15 karma

My company is a European one, and it's company policy to do it like the way you described in America... Ig it just differs from company to company tbh. We try to put our customers first.

Topheriam12 karma

What’s the best way to fly with a bicycle to ensure it doesn’t end up damaged? Does case matter? Fragile stickers, etc? Thanks in advance.

SimPilotAdamT34 karma

Having a foldable bike is best, with a hard shell case in order to prevent any damage. If you're able to dismantle your bike and are ok with assembling it at your destination then you can do so, keeping all the parts in the case.

Fragile stickers don't really help, we treat all bags and bikes the same.

Sultry_Llama_Of_Doom11 karma

What's the farthest you've seen a bag get yeeted?

SimPilotAdamT13 karma

Idk if it's a trick question or not... I've seen bags being yeeted only as far as about 5 metres or so

Rcontrerr210 karma

What’s the weirdest thing to fall out of a piece of luggage?

SimPilotAdamT45 karma

We don't actually get a lot of stuff falling out of ppl's bags... Some ppl do overfill their luggage, which can make them burst open, but in those cases we only rly see clothes.

I have, however, on multiple occasions, had to deal with vibrating bags. 9 times out of 10 it's just an electric toothbrush. The rest: vibrators

neiromaru27 karma

Is it company policy to never imply ownership in the event of a vibrator?

SimPilotAdamT32 karma

Company policy is to stop the passenger at the gate b4 they board the plane, they are taken to a private room inside the terminal where they can deal with the vibrating, no harm, no foul. The only ppl who will know are company employees, and the passenger whose bag it was. This is the same procedure for any vibrating bag, be it a toothbrush or sex toy.

BadReview86753092 karma

If I use strong master locks on my bags will they just be automatically cut off?

SimPilotAdamT9 karma

While you could open a Master Lock with a Master Lock, we are not allowed to open any bags at all. If a lock falls off, then we keep the zip closed and (un)load the bag as per normal.

azemilyann2610 karma

Why do so many wheelchairs get broken in transit? What can be done to keep them safe?

SimPilotAdamT15 karma

A lot of the time this is out of our control. We are as careful as possible in making sure everything is as secure as possible, planes move around a lot, so it's natural for things to get dislodged and move around, especially during turbulence or a hard landing. The one mostly to blame: mother nature.

thedanana9 karma

Thanks for doing what you do! I've always wondered if you guys take the time to notice if a bag has a "priority" or "heavy" tag. Does it make a difference to you?

SimPilotAdamT14 karma

If it's got a heavy tag we are careful to make sure we can lift it. If it is too big/heavy for one person, we can always do a team lift.

As for priority tags, they don't normally grab our attention, my company doesn't even have any. We do have "rush bags", which basically are for bags that were checked in super late, so we have to haul ass to get it to the plane ASAP.

reddituser1129 karma

How many planes do you handle in a typical shift? Is it constant jumping from one to the next? Or, downtime mixed in throughout the day?

SimPilotAdamT15 karma

It depends on the day, some days I'll only have to do 1 flight for an entire 12 hour shift. Other days it's jumping between flights with a 5 minute rest in between. This industry is fluid, and changing all the time.

bjayernaeiy8 karma

How do you handle musical instruments? Given that in one of your replies you mentioned that you throw non-wheeled Bagage.

SimPilotAdamT10 karma

Out of gauge stuff like musical instruments are usually the last stuff to be loaded, which means that we slide those

insaneintheblain7 karma

If I were to put a sticker on my bag “this is a bomb” and you saw it, what would you do?

If you saw a sticker on my bag “I am a chicken” what would you do?

SimPilotAdamT15 karma

We'd laugh about it and move on...

That wouldn't be the most sus thing tbh. B4 I started airport work, I set my mobile hotspot name to "Remote Detonator". I haven't changed it since. I may or may not have had my mobile hotspot on while I'm working.

LostCause6669467 karma

Is it hard to get hired in your department? Do You get flight benefits?

SimPilotAdamT21 karma

Omg I forgot the benefits package.

Yes, we do get benefits, varying from airline to airline. At my company, we have discounted employee flight fares if we need them, which is extended to anyone accompanying us on a flight. We can also use our airline credentials to gain access to the jumpseat of the flight deck.

SimPilotAdamT13 karma

The hardest part is security clearance, the steps of which I'm not allowed to discuss. In every other aspect it's like a normal job, you apply online, sending your CV, go to the interview, and wait and see if you have the job or not. From then on you can immediately start training while security stuff starts.

r00t17 karma

Do you treat bags marked 'fragile' any differently than the other bags? Do you treat them worse?

SimPilotAdamT11 karma

Some of us are tempted to treat them worse, but we never do. Having a fragile tag doesn't really make a difference.

ScandInBei12 karma

I have seen tags with the text "I love baggage handlers". Would that help?

SimPilotAdamT16 karma

Yes, it absolutely does

(Jk ofc)

deepdumpsterdiver6 karma

Is it a fun job? Working thr whole shift or alot of waiting?

SimPilotAdamT10 karma

It is a fun job overall. Like any job there are downsides, but it's more than a job for me. I've wanted to be a pilot all my life, so now being able to actively be involved in the process still humbles me sometimes.

As for waiting... Yeah there can be a lotta that. Some shifts can be so unbusy that I literally turn up at the airport, do no actual work, go back home early, and be paid for the full shift. Even on days where I have planes, I usually still have time to do other stuff, plane spotting, playing stuff on my steam deck, and a bunch of stuff.

ImagineChi6 karma

What is the most common contraband you confiscate?

SimPilotAdamT16 karma

We don't deal with that, it's airport security's job

lindymad5 karma

  1. Are there any tricks to having your bags come out first? For example, does the bag shape/size make a difference, or how early/late you check the bags?

  2. Sometimes, the belt starts, and a few bags come out, then the belt stops and after a while the bags come out on a different carousel. I presume this is usually mechanical issues with the belt? (If not, what other reasons might this happen?) What sort of things go wrong with the belts, and how often are they usually out of commission for?

Thanks for what you do!

SimPilotAdamT6 karma

1: bags get mixed around, so it's impossible to tell

2: most likely, yeah. It's either that or the guy dropping off the bags fucked up and put the first few on the wrong belt. Idk much about the arrival hall carousel, but usually the airport aims to fix them ASAP, within 48 hours in most cases


Thanks for paying the money that goes into our paychecks!

BadReview86753095 karma

Is luggage checked last often loaded last and first to come off a plane at a destination?

SimPilotAdamT4 karma

This isn't hard and fast always true, but a lot of the time it can be the case. Most of the time bags get mixed around in the holds so this is rare in practice.

paradoxofchoice4 karma

Do you work directly for an airline or contract service the airline hires out? How much do you make per hour and do you recommend the job?

I did this job in my 20s and it was great if it was directly for an airline so you get all the benefits and opportunities to move up. But many of the senior guys making $25/hr it had changed so much they would no longer recommend someone start at the bottom now. (everything is seniority based, including who gets on a plane first among employees)

SimPilotAdamT8 karma

I work directly for the airline. Generally, everyone with the same role has the same salary, with some differences depending on seniority. Basically a slightly modified version of the system you mention yourself.

GotSeoul4 karma

A buddy of mine 'tossed bags' (his words) for a major airline in the U.S. many (20) years ago.

One of the things he told me is to NOT put 'Fragile' or somesuch designations on bags as there are some folks that will try to see how much airtime they can get with those bags.

This was at a time where cameras were not as prevalent as they are now. Is this still good advice?

EDIT: I read down further and found the other comment on Fragile.

SimPilotAdamT9 karma

I say it is still good advice, but for different reasons. We treat bags with fragile tags the same as without, having the tag there makes no difference at all.

But yeah we can't do any yeeting competitions anymore 😟

8690664 karma

What’s the process for entering the airport? I know you probably can’t say much about it but do you have to go through the same security process as travelers or is it more/less strict.

SimPilotAdamT10 karma

We have our own staff entrance with the same rigorous security checks.

SimPilotAdamT1 karma

Very funny, Joe. For security reasons, I can't tell you.

bluekobli3 karma

How are pets taken care of when they're transferred to the plane?

SimPilotAdamT9 karma

We provide pets with water and food enough for the flight and then some. The holds are pressurised and air conditioned to the same conditions as the cabin.

AlbinoAlex3 karma

You mention how on other airlines passenger luggage is “bin loaded” but that’s not the case with your airline. What does bin loading mean and how is it different from how you load?

SimPilotAdamT6 karma

Good question. Basically, a bin loaded plane is one that uses ULDs to store bags that they have in the hold, which are secured on rollers. At my company, we just put bags kinda loosely into the hold, without using those containers. The holds we have look similar to this.

Jeff-FaFa3 karma

How is it like working in the holds for tall people? Also, how burdensome has your job been on your body and overall physical health?

SimPilotAdamT10 karma

I am 5"9' and I have to bend over in the hold. If you don't have knee pads your knees start to ache a LOT. You can also expect severe back pain after being at the job for a few years, bc you always have a bent back. You get physically strong, but at the expense of pain basically everywhere else.

blbd3 karma

What's the craziest thing that has happened in the job?

What's the craziest thing you ever loaded or unloaded?

bahgheera15 karma

Not OP but a former ramper here. The craziest thing I ever loaded was a suitcase belonging to Luis Guzman. My buddy came into the break room and said hey guess who's in the restaurant upstairs, it's Luis Guzman! So I said okay let's go up there and see him. We went upstairs and walked by, I didn't see him. We walked by again, I still didn't see him. We walked by a third time and this time I saw him and he was looking at us with his trademark scowl and it startled me so bad that I just kept on going and went back downstairs.

Later I got to thinking "was that really him though?" So when it came time to load that particular flight we all went out to the baggage carts and I started looking through all the tags until I found one that had his name on it. I picked the bag up and said hey look y'all, it was really him! Everyone was looking at me funny, somebody motioned to the windows of the terminal. I turned around and looked and he was standing there in the window staring straight at me, with the scowl and everything. I almost jumped out of my skin.

SimPilotAdamT7 karma

I was hard pressed to actually remember anything truly that crazy. Your one is defo better than any story I have

StealthyWolf962 karma

Have you ever caught someone stealing stuff from the passenger's luggage?

SimPilotAdamT3 karma

Not personally, no

balne2 karma

I need to have my desktop PC with me as i travel, do u have any advice?

SimPilotAdamT2 karma


If you have any PCIe add-in cards, take these out and package these separately from the main PC, this can stop those cards from breaking, as well as your motherboard's PCIe slots. It can also help stop your case from bending too far.

There exists expanding foam which you can put inside your case to stop things from rattling around...

dmethvin1 karma

The tracking RFID chips in the luggage tags seem to work well in the airport, but do the folks who deliver lost/delayed luggage have the ability to use the RFID? I'm thinking of situations like this:


SimPilotAdamT3 karma

We actually don't use tracking RFID chips at my company, we normally just use the ID numbers on your bag tags which are unique to your boarding pass in order to keep track of your bags, so I don't have an answer for you, for that...

defectiveCatastrophe1 karma

what are the odds of finding and confiscating contraband like drugs? and how often are luggages really pulled aside for random TSA checks?

SimPilotAdamT2 karma

I'm not American so we don't have TSA. All bags are x-rayed before it gets to us, if there is smth sus inside, airport security takes over. Idk their procedures.

rob_s_4581 karma

I recently traveled with a firearm for the first time and it got me thinking: are there extra steps you guys take to make sure the Return to BSO bags make it to their destination? I have to assume a lot of flags go up if a bag containing a firearm gets lost.

SimPilotAdamT4 karma

My company has it simple: we don't carry firearms at all, not even checked in.

xabhax1 karma

Are you really called throwers? And what do you do if you get a vibrating bag?

SimPilotAdamT5 karma

I haven't heard the term being used by us, but yes we do throw bags if we have to for efficiency.

Generally, if we get a vibrating bag, we put it aside, without loading it, and call aside the passenger whose bag it is at the gate. From there, they are led to a private area where they can open the bag, and turn off whatever device is causing the vibration.

gorba1 karma

I've had the lock in my luggage broken and a phone charger (!) stolen by someone handling the luggage. When is there an opportunity for this? I suppose a lock just attracts thieves, so better to do without, right?

SimPilotAdamT4 karma

It can be better to just go without to be less conspicuous.

At my airport, there is so much CCTV you can't scratch your arse without someone knowing ab it, so there is no opportunity for that shit over here

GordaoPreguicoso1 karma

Why do you hate my bag?

SimPilotAdamT2 karma

Is your bag one with a dodgy wheel? One with no wheels at all? One with no proper handholds?

Those are some of the bags I really, really hate.

serendippitydoo1 karma

What's the smallest amount of time you can get a plane loaded from another plane that is behind schedule?

SimPilotAdamT1 karma

Sometimes, if needed, we can switch from plane to plane instantly. The supervisors prefer not to but if they have to send us immediately to another plane, they have to.

amarino1 karma

Why do I see bags always loaded upside down on the conveyor / cart?

SimPilotAdamT1 karma

Conveyor belts be conveyor belts. There are a lotta turns between us dropping off bags and the arrivals hall so we can never guarantee the handle will be facing you.

RogueArtificer1 karma

How can I travel with my wife and her wheelchair without it getting mangled/broken in the process? Or maybe a reduced chance of that happening.

SimPilotAdamT1 karma

There isn't much I can say, rly. We try our best to keep everything secured, but things move around too often to guarantee anything. Even on a smooth flight.

Laraisan0 karma

Does the FTC get the preliminary junction it wants?

SimPilotAdamT2 karma

Idk, I'm not American

Butt_Plug_Bonanza0 karma


SimPilotAdamT5 karma

We never even mention the dildo, we just tell the passenger that their bag is vibrating, in a private area, and allow them to turn it off themselves.

Xanxost4 karma

Since a lot of folks are quoting a part of Fight Club to you, here's the context of the question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JVJzwgqZ9U

Thanks for the AMA, really enjoying it.

SimPilotAdamT5 karma

Oh it's a fight club reference. I never knew.

No worries, I figured why not do one

SimPilotAdamT3 karma

Tbh they actually got it pretty accurate

A2the9olds0 karma

What’s the main reason bags get lost?…and why is it laziness by other baggage handlers?

SimPilotAdamT6 karma

Laziness, ppl not paying attention, system breakdowns. It generally takes multiple things going wrong for bags to be lost

GreyRobb-1 karma

Hi Adam.

Last time I checked a bag a nice bluetooth speaker was stolen from it. Was it you???

SimPilotAdamT5 karma

Nah, mate. That sounds real unfortunate... All airports have CCTV to the point where you can't pick your nose without someone in a security room seeing it. so while that has happened, it is a lot less likely to happen now than 15 years ago.

PearIJam-4 karma

How much do you usually get tipped? I heard it's like $5 a bag.

SimPilotAdamT2 karma

I have never seen me or any of my colleagues get tipped for our work... It's just our salary, and company benefits.

TwitchFunnyguy77-5 karma

Why do you always break my luggage?

SimPilotAdamT5 karma

It happens mainly on lower quality bags which don't have a very sturdy build quality. Try to make sure your bag has 4 good wheels so that we don't have to throw them around as much.

Also know that the company you fly with is liable for any damage they do to your bag, and will buy you a new one.

phat-jordan-5 karma


SimPilotAdamT2 karma

TSA doesn't operate at my airport...