alpaca princess (renniekins) wrote,
alpaca princess

Baggage Handling

Sitting on the plane today, having landed in Detroit (just in from Boston). I happened to be seated directly above the baggage compartment door, so while waiting to deplane I could observe through my little round window the baggage handlers' efforts to remove the baggage from the plane.

They had the usual train with luggage cars lined up, and a ramp set up from the door in the plane down to the luggage train. The ramp was supposed to be motorized, moving the bags from the plane to the train in an orderly fashion. A single small bag was on the ramp, moving down toward the bottom.

The ramp stopped moving. Out of everything on the plane, just one minuscule bag had been removed, and it was stuck just a foot away from the plane itself. It was also such a small bag, it seemed to me it could have easily just fit underneath the seat in front of whoever owned the little bag.

A couple of baggage handlers appeared into view, waving their hands and talking to one another. They proceeded to look at the ramp, apparently trying to figure out why it had stopped moving. One bent down and looked underneath, another started jiggling buttons. Eventually the ramp moved, and more luggage emerged.

The bags moved down the ramp, and the littlest one had just made it to the end of the ramp when - of course - the ramp stopped moving again. More jiggling and hand-waving, finally the ramp moved and the handler tossed the little suitcase onto the train. Several others followed, and order seemed to be restored. The one handler was waving his arms in the air, making imaginary high-fives, and declaring victory.

Since the people in my plane were still not being allowed off, I kept watching the luggage circus. I was keeping an eye out for my own bag, since it has a distinctive and easy-to-spot pattern. Just as it emerged into view on the ramp, the ramp stopped again. Now the ramp was full of large bags, and I clearly saw the one handler mouth to the other one, "Mother Fucker!" I laughed.

He bent down again to look at the ramp from underneath, but did not appear to find anything. Finally he went to the end of the ramp, pulled off the suitcase, and tossed it onto the train. Then he walked further up the ramp, removed its suitcase, and hefted it into the train. He kept making his way slowly along the ramp toward the plane, grabbing the bags and carrying them inefficiently one at a time to the cart, looking grumpy. Finally there were just two suitcases visible from my angle - my case, and one in front of it.

All of a sudden, the ramp kicked in again, and the top two suitcases started moving down, along with a third behind them. This time for some reason they were moving much faster than before, practically charging down the ramp. The handler had to run to the bottom of the ramp just as the first got to the end. He grabbed it, turned and tossed it onto the baggage train, just as the next suitcase (mine) was about to tip off the ramp entirely. He caught my suitcase before it fell, and literally threw it at the train, then grabbed the next one - at which point the ramp stopped again.

I couldn't help but laugh. Those poor guys! Fortunately there was a lot of smiling, laughing, and eye-rolling amid the exasperation they were showing. Just another day at the office, right?
Tags: travel
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