Have you ever wondered what it takes to get your airplane luggage from point A to point B in one piece?
Well, according to a baggage handler, there’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes, with very early starts, lots of walking and cool temperatures among the tasks.
Rachel Bacha, from Idaho, works for Delta Air Lines as a ramp agent – also known as a baggage handler – and in a series of TikToks she reveals what her typical days are like, including departures at 2:35 a.m.
Some of her days can last 14 hours, but she usually covers shifts from 4 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Rachel Bacha, from Idaho, works for Delta Air Lines as a ramp agent, also known as a baggage handler
In TikToks, she reveals what her days look like, including the 2:35 a.m. debut
Once she’s changed into a high-vis jacket, she gets to work in the bag room, which is “where all the bags go after you check them in for your flight.”
Rachel has been a ramp agent for four years, her workload increasing along the way
In a video, she explains that after getting up at 4 a.m. for four years, she learned to use a few techniques to make sure she didn’t fall back to sleep.
First, she says, “As soon as I hear my alarm, I get out of bed. I don’t hit snooze once. It sucks now, but it’ll suck even more in five minutes.
Another one of his clever tricks is to always have something to look forward to.
This might involve trying a new coffee pod or making your favorite breakfast of banana slices and peanut butter on toast, sprinkled with cinnamon.
‘[It’s] just simple little things, so as soon as you wake up, you have something to look forward to,” says Rachel.
After leaving home, the avid traveler usually gets to work at 3:50 a.m.
Once she puts on a hi-vis jacket, she gets to work in the baggage hall, which is “where all the luggage goes after you check it in for your flight.”
In the bag room, there is a conveyor belt where the luggage passes, with ramp attendants who load it onto small trucks or carts.
Before the luggage arrives, Rachel says she gets the carts ready and puts them in the right position.
She also checks the computer “to see how many passengers there are because that gives me a good estimate of how much luggage I can expect.”
Once all carts are full – usually around 35 minutes before departure – someone will come to the baggage hall to take the baggage carts away.
Some of the other tasks she performs as part of her job include de-icing planes, mustering planes, and pushing back planes.
If she has time, Rachel says she’ll get the carts out to load the plane, then get ready for the next flight.
Rachel reveals that she typically takes 15,000 to 16,000 steps per shift in the bag room, and from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. she can expect around 200 to 300 bags.
While Rachel says ramp agent shifts seem long, they “go by so fast”
However, she adds that the early start and physical nature of the job leaves her “pretty exhausted”.
If she has time, Rachel says she’ll get the carts out to load the plane and then get ready for the next flight.
She reflects, “For the most part, there’s a pretty constant stream of bags coming down on the belt.
“From 4am to 6am, I can expect around 200-250 bags depending on whether it’s a hectic travel day or not.”
In addition to standard suitcases, Rachel must ensure that oversized luggage, including bicycles, strollers, surfboards, walking sticks [and] golf bags’ are carefully transferred to the right plane.
From around 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., she says, “there are only two small flights leaving, so it’s a bit slower in the baggage hall.”
Meanwhile, she works on her crochet project and eats her snacks and breakfast in the break room.
After a break, she prepare your trolleys for the next flights then “pretty much from now throughout the day there are a lot of people in the bag room”.
Rachel reveals that she typically walks between 15,000 and 16,000 steps per shift in the bag room.
Other tasks she performs as part of her job include de-icing aircraft, mustering aircraft, and pushing aircraft back.
While Rachel says ramp agent shifts seem long, they “go by so quickly.”
However, she adds that they still leave her “pretty exhausted”.