My short bio: I am a ramp agent at one of the busiest airports in Montana (compared to Minneapolis we are nothing). I load and unload all your baggage from the airplane during turns, we guide in/ push out aircraft, and I clean them at night when they RON (remain over night). I work for Delta mostly, but we are contracted for Frontier and Allegiant also! Some stuff that has to do with procedure I can't legally answer, but I will do my best! Ask away!

My Proof: https://imgur.com/vu05zGh

Comments: 290 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

Zomg_A_Chicken57 karma

Do you put pineapple on your pizza?

Henbo_Longshaft45 karma

Hell no. Thanks for asking!

iamclev49 karma

You have been banned from /r/knightsofpineapple

Henbo_Longshaft5 karma

Wouldn't want to join r/knightsofpineapple, tis' a silly place.

united_kakotopia42 karma

How are dogs/cats usually treated? I know the stuff in the news is the exception, but I am sure I am not alone in worrying my pet would get tossed about

Henbo_Longshaft135 karma

Can’t speak for other places, but here we take the best care of them we can. We get them off of the ramp ASAP as it’s super loud and probably very scary for them. At least here at we are very cautious of where we put the dogs in terms of the bins as to avoid “pulling a United”.

Kodiak0116 karma

Have to chime in with one point about UA: Part of the reason their deaths are higher are not only due to carrying so many more animals, but that they are one of the few carriers that would accept snub-nosed breeds that typically don't travel very well.

A big reason they still accepted them at all is because it would be the only way to get animals home from overseas, such as cases like military families, etc.

There are very strict rules as to not only where the animals can be put, but how many in a bin, what can be packed in there with them (hazmat classes, etc.) Very rare that there were ever any issues.

We always used to err severely on the side of caution on my docks. On more than one occasion, I refused outright to put my signature on an airbill because of temperatures. One time, the customer raised such a stink that the airline GM had to drive down himself to do the acceptance.

That was the day we learned that Japanese Snow Monkeys can use their kennels just like squared off hamster wheels across the dock!

As for deaths experienced, I only ever had to deal with it once; it was a ~17 year old cat that just couldn't handle the stress. The hardest part was telling them that I couldn't release the dead animal to them, that it had to go to a vet to have the cause of death confirmed.

Henbo_Longshaft3 karma

That must have been quite a sight with the monkey!

Kodiak012 karma

It was very amusing, yes. It certainly beat the day I got whacked upside the head with the tail of a heavily spooked and obviously well-fed wallaby...

Henbo_Longshaft1 karma

A wallaby?? What’s your station?

Henbo_Longshaft56 karma

Most of us have dogs out here so we understand.

TheScienceSpy41 karma

What's the strangest piece of luggage you've ever handled?

Henbo_Longshaft70 karma

We send out HRs (Human Remains) pretty often. Kinda freaked me out at first, knowing we were moving a dead guy. Still kinda creepy. Also get “human specimens” I.e. organs for labs and hospitals.

TheScienceSpy14 karma

I never would have thought they would move corpses on commercial flights. But I suppose if they want to be buried in their home town, how else would they move them there? Very interesting.

Henbo_Longshaft14 karma

Yea honestly before this job I didn’t know that. Definitely a bit of a shocker.

Nitin201538 karma

I'm from the department of redundancy department. Step into my office please.

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

Lol 😂

Kodiak014 karma

If it came down to your luggage and an HR, hope you like the clothes you're wearing!

Source: 10 years handling and managing airline freight docks (US/CO/YX/DL/UA/SW/AC/JM/others)

Henbo_Longshaft3 karma

Oh God

Kipthecagefighter044 karma

i was also a ramp attendant and my worst was multiple garbagr bags of hands and feet going to a local university. In fucken garbages bags... i could tell what bags contains what limbs, they should have used bins. i also handled the stanley cup and an olympic gold medal ( i got to hold it, the athlete let me hold it)

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

Stanley cup / gold metal, cool. Bag of hands? not so much.

Kipthecagefighter041 karma

i was the only one willing to unload the bags of hands and feet. thats a moment ill never forget. i miss working at the airport. The job was interesting.

Henbo_Longshaft1 karma

Defiantly the most interesting job I’ve had. See some pretty cool and also some pretty weird shit.

TooADHD35 karma

How easy is it to lose someone’s bags? Pure curiosity, not an angry traveler.

Henbo_Longshaft47 karma

Since we are a pretty small airport it’s fairly hard to do. Occasionally a bag will fall off a cart but it’s always picked up pretty quick. Now at a busy airport, I can see how it would be decently easy to accidentally misread a bag tag and throw it on the wrong cart, but since they are scanned before loading they almost never actually make it onto the aircraft.

TooADHD9 karma

Okay sick! Thank you!

Henbo_Longshaft10 karma

You are welcome! Thanks for asking!

Werkstadt3 karma

What could happen is that it's thrown in the wrong cart and miss its planen because that planes already been loaded?

Henbo_Longshaft4 karma

Yea that happens, but pretty rarely. Biggest thing is if people check in really late and their bag gets to us after the plane has been loaded, and no one is in the bag room to notice it.

Seeking-roommate3 karma

Kallispell?

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

Bozeman! I used to work in Kalispell tho!

lazymary41826 karma

Does that plastic wrap some people wrap tightly around their luggage really keep it safe and clean. Does it make it harder for you to do your job?

Henbo_Longshaft57 karma

We get 3 kinds of people. Those who put those straps around the bags, which don’t do too much in terms of protection. The second are the people who buy the protective sheathes or whatever you want to call them. They do an ok job of keeping stuff clean but are annoying cuz they usually block the straps, making them hard to pick up and move. The third are the nut jobs who wrap their bags in 10 freaking layers of Saran Wrap. Many people wrap the handles in too which is the worst, especially on heavy bags. Plus the wrap won’t slide an inch so they get banged around pretty good.

-0x0-0x0-41 karma

Luggage condoms. They’re called luggage condoms. Glad to be able to help here.

Henbo_Longshaft5 karma

luggage condoms

wpmason5 karma

Aren’t the straps basically just to keep the lid shut in case the zipper blows out?

Henbo_Longshaft10 karma

Yea pretty much. It does help when it happens but unless you have two going perpendicular you will still lose some stuff.

ColdFusionPT6 karma

Well, i use one of those straps because I want to "tag" my luggage and not because I'm afraid it will break. My parents gave me the current luggage that I own and they look like any other suitcase you see on the airport.
I tried multiple things like stickers or one of those tags that you put on the handle but if the luggage goes on the carousel the wrong side I would miss it -_-
When the luggage that I own breaks I'm going to buy some with bright colors to keep this from happening :/

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

It does make sense as an identifier. 100 times better than big tags or frilly things. We hate those.

HadHerses3 karma

Maybe in your airport it's not that important to wrap bags but some I've been to insist on it. I don't see an issue with it so long as the handle is out.

It helps in many ways:

  • The risk of theft during the journey is reduced.

  • Protection against scratching as well as the weather.

  • The risk of your luggage being used for smuggling is reduced – no unintentional opening

  • Protection for your bags and suitcases during the whole journey – no liquid can enter the baggage

When I worked in an airline I always tried to remember not everyone is travelling for leisure or even some banal business trip. A of people travel with their worldly and most precious possessions for one reason or another.

Wrapping bags for security is fine in my book!

Henbo_Longshaft1 karma

That is a good point. We are such a small airport relative to say, MSP, but using the wrap as anti theft makes sense for bigger airports.

lazymary4182 karma

Thank you for your answer. I did wonder--especially about wrapping over the handles and now I know thanks to you.

Henbo_Longshaft4 karma

Glad I could help! Thanks for asking!

tiger_lily1719 karma

You said you also clean the planes, how often do you see bedbugs on planes? What is the process/downtime (if any) to get rid of them?

CozyEmoji9 karma

AMA also ramp agent but for other airline. Never had any bedbug infestations but I see plenty of bins with their fair share of roaches!

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

Haven't come across roaches yet. Never really thought about bug infestations before.

Henbo_Longshaft3 karma

Personally I haven't come across bed bugs on an airplane yet.

xbumblebee18 karma

if a suitcase has a fragile sticker on it, are they actually treated more carefully? a lot of my fragile stuff has broken before despite me telling the check in people that there's fragile stuff in there and also having a sticker on there, so now i just carry it with me hand luggage :(

Henbo_Longshaft37 karma

Most people when they see a fragile sticker will treat it a bit better. However sometimes we don’t see the sticker till we chuck it onto the claim belt. Other times it may be set down nicely but another bag gets thrown on top. Like I said in another comment, if we are in a rush it’s pretty easy to miss the fragile stickers. My advice is that if it is fragile and can fit in a carry-on, do it.

increasethepce18 karma

What’s the craziest thing you ever witnessed at the airport?

Henbo_Longshaft50 karma

Kinda crazy/ cool. Got to help maintenance change a tire on a 757-200. A bolt sheered off and got stuck up in the brakes. Pilot let me keep it. Gunna take it to my ME class about stresses and such.

increasethepce10 karma

Very cool! God, it must be so nerve-wracking doing maintenance on an airplane. Talk about a high-pressure job.

Do you like what you do? Would you recommend it as a career choice? How did you qualify and/or train for that position?

Henbo_Longshaft20 karma

It’s a very interesting job, however on a busy day it can be hell. It’s a good job for college students (80% of my coworkers) but not something I’d want as a career. There just isn’t much more to achieve other than ramp supervisor. I worked on the private side of the airport (private jets, famous people, etc) before, so that was kinda my “qualifications”. However, many of my co-workers had no experience with airlines what-so-ever.

Henbo_Longshaft9 karma

The training was about 30% computer training followed by 70% OJT on the ramp.

RalphieRaccoon6 karma

Which do you prefer to handle, hard shell or soft shell?

CozyEmoji7 karma

Not OP, but Soft shell all the way. Hard shell slide like shit and make it hard to make a “stack” out of, which is how we lay the bags in the bin to ensure they don’t slide around and fall mid-flight

Angelbabysdaddy1 karma

One time I was called out to a plane because they couldn't get the bag bin door open. The loader at the departure airport did a shit job stacking and when the bags fell over a stroller also fell against the door keeping it from being opened more than an inch or so. That was a bitch to deal with. We had to find a girl with really thin arms to squeeze her hand through the opening and try to move the stroller out of the way. Apparently, they also didn't put up the cargo net to prevent this from happening. If it wasn't for the girl, I don't know how we would have gotten the door open. Everyone was pissed.

Henbo_Longshaft1 karma

737?

Angelbabysdaddy1 karma

CRJ-200

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

Interesting. We get 737 doors that jam a lot because of poorly stacked bins.

paulusmagintie3 karma

Soft shell plz thx

Henbo_Longshaft1 karma

Personally, I prefer hard shell. Why do you prefer soft?

Henbo_Longshaft1 karma

Hard shell with swivel wheels. IMO they are the easiest to stack and slide (depending on the material/texture). Soft bags can bulge, hard shells retain their shape making them easier to stack, plus if they look like they won't slide, you can just roll them to the slider/ stacker.

Patranus6 karma

As someone who gate-checks their bags almost every flight, how much (if any) does this piss off agents?

Henbo_Longshaft18 karma

If it’s a normal bag it’s not too bad and really doesn’t require too much extra effort. The exception is if it’s like a super heavy or awkwardly shaped bags like wheel chairs or strollers that we then have to carry down a narrow flight of stairs.

lucipherius4 karma

How do you decide which luggage to handle with Care and which one to toss like trash?

Henbo_Longshaft29 karma

Honestly the best answer would be gunny’s quote from FMJ: “YOU ARE ALL EQUALLY WORTHLESS!” We make sure not to handle bags too rough as to break them, but bags really do take a beating. Fragile labeled bags will be treated better obviously, but still not too good. If we are in a rush we will generally throw bags pretty hard. We will throw bags hard that don’t slide well I.e. duffle bags and other cloth bags. Best word of advice for getting your bag handled better: Use a hard shelled, four wheel roller bag. Those are the easiest to throw, stack, and slide, and are consistently treated better, but not always.

EwoksMakeMeHard3 karma

Do you work for the airport or an airline?

HeavyMetalPilot2 karma

Not OP but I’m an airline pilot. Most rampies either work for the airline or for a ramp service company that has a contract with the airline. The company may handle several different airlines.

Henbo_Longshaft1 karma

Who do you fly for?

Henbo_Longshaft1 karma

I work for WFS and we are contracted by Delta. Im pretty sure at my airport the only airline dedicated ramp new is Alaska/Horizon. All other airlines contract out the ramp crews. United - Skywest. Delta, Allegiant, Frontier - WFS (me). Alaska/Horizon - Alaska/ Horizon (as far as I know). American - Trego

Jean_Luc_Pickachu1 karma

A lot of the smaller airports also have most below wing aka ramp agents work thru a staffing contractor. So most won't be directly employed by a major airline. It makes it easier for the airline to manage headcount aka contractor as the smaller airports can have stronger fluctuations in flights. For example, Delta could have anywhere from 2-3 flights a day to a particular airport which could fluctuate with season (particularly a winter destination) so it wouldn't make sense to have dedicated staff there. The contractors can service multiple airlines this way, also.

Henbo_Longshaft1 karma

We are with a company contracted by Delta, allegiant, frontier at my airport and we have year round staff. The catch is that there are only like 4 full time positions, and they are supervisors.

cubnole2 karma

Do your tugs and push-backs break down as often as ours?

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

oh yea. We have some seriously shitty equipment. Like, something breaks down daily. We just recently had a lav cart malfunction... not fun.

cubnole3 karma

Where I work we call a lav cart a terd hearse.

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

hahaha

Rhus_divirsiloba2 karma

Flying from LAX to PDX a couple years ago I had an iPod stolen from my checked baggage and replaced with cucumber eye-pads. I’m sure someone thought it was hilarious.

But, my question is: at what point in my bags journey did this likely happen?

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

Most likely when it was being loaded onto the carts. If someone is bored they might have popped it open and stolen it. People can be shitty, I'm sorry! We aren't all bad!

Imsosorryimoncocaine2 karma

Can I just use your AmA to bitch about airport things that I feel like relate to you and you can validate me?

  1. Roller bags are not carry-ons. I do my work, I carry my bag. I have a 30lb bag on my back. I get to stow it in the overhead. Quit being a bitch to the nice ticket ladies for calling you out on your bullshit roller bags and don't get all huffy and give tude to the baggage guy because you can't understand "carry-on" and you have to wait for him to bring your bag up.

  2. It's not on the airline to take care of your pet if you place them in cargo. Like... bro... you literally placed a living being where I'm placing my duty free beer and dirty underwear. YOU AGREED TO PLACE YOUR PET THERE. Every time I fly, I am around or directly involved with a person who is having a minor panic attack while flying. Imagine what your dumb ass dog is going through when you shove them into a carrier, and throw them next to my bag of dirty underwear and obvious alcohol issues, fuck with the air pressure, and then throw them to strange bag handlers who try their best to treat your pet with the respect you couldn't afford them.

  3. Saying "took you long enough" to a baggage fella guarantees you will get your last bag last. Not related in any way, pointing at that guy and saying "mr.important man has important man things to do" also guarantees that you will get your bag next to last... because they know you need to sober up.

  4. Stuck at the Las Vegas airport for over 10 hours? Explore the airport. Live your life. Write a new epiphany every hour. Don't gamble and yell at that nice lady opening up the diner next to the make-up machine and slots.

Henbo_Longshaft1 karma

Rant validated. I really do wish people didn’t put their pets in the bins. The bathroom and ramp are pretty loud and it’s gotta be scary fro the pets. Many are nervous wrecks when they get offloaded. Would never do that to my pet. And you are right about the “took you long enough” comment. Nothing more annoying.

Astral_Enigma2 karma

What do your people have against guitars? I'm an ambassador from the musicians' union. We wish to talk peace.

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

Nothing against guitars! I have one too so I am pretty careful with them. That said, accidents happen, bags fall of a cart or off a belt and get damaged. We are sorry!

Potatobatt3ry2 karma

Do those long trains of carts you put bags on ever fall over? What speeds do they generally move at across the airport? I was always fascinated by them as a kid! Edit: I'm loving all these stories!

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

They don't tip unless the diver is being reckless. The speed limit for our ramp is like 20 mph I think, and if you are close to an airplane its 10.

wawjr1 karma

So I travel with a large duffle bag with wheels on it. Every damn time I fly, the zippered ends where I put my shoes (imagine one big opening in the middle of the bad with smaller compartments on each end) are left partially open. Why?

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

Just from how it gets thrown around. We get bags all the time that are partially opened and I usually just zip it back up. However we really hate duffle bags. They are usually awkwardly big and are pretty crappy to stack unless on top. Definitely one of the worst treated bags.

pomod1 karma

What are ramp agents thinking when they toss guitar shaped instrument cases 20 feet onto the loading ramp?

Henbo_Longshaft1 karma

Wouldn’t know, never done it! We are normally very careful with guitar shaped instrument cases! Can’t say everywhere is tho!

Spreadlikebutter1 karma

Has anyone asked you to go get a bucket of prop wash and a yard of flight line?

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

Surprisingly that hasn't happened to me, now that I think about it

Kodiak012 karma

Only in conjunction with a bin-stretcher.

Seriously, we used to use these items to teach newbies where all the different areas of the airport were. They would get sent from cargo to baggage to maintenance to Ops and elsewhere.

One day I decided to screw with the system. I took some old washed out bleach bottles, filled them with water, printed up some Prop Wash labels, and handed them to FNG when Ops sent him up.

That got me a very confused phone call in response.

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

lol

SplendidSavage1 karma

Are DL or DGS? I'm out of the ATL and we're about to start sending some of that love your way in a few weeks.

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

Neither! We are WFS.

SplendidSavage1 karma

Right on, my dude. If you get a flight with all the bags backwards just know it was me and I did it out of solidarity.

Henbo_Longshaft1 karma

I’ll be looking for them! Haha!

kalesaji1 karma

Do you guys actually pay attention to stickers like "handle with care" that some passengers (like myself) like to put on their luggage, or do you throw them around the same way you do with all the other luggage?

Henbo_Longshaft2 karma

Yes we do, but often times if we are in a hurry they get missed and banged around. We are on time constraints with on loading and off loading, so things do get missed.