Ever wondered what it takes to get your plane luggage from A to B in one piece?
Well, according to one luggage handler, there’s a lot of hard work involved behind the scenes, with very early starts, lots of walking and chilly temperatures being among some of the toils.
Rachel Bacha, from Idaho, works for Delta Air Lines as a ramp agent – also known as a luggage handler – and in a series of TikToks she reveals what her typical days look like, including 2:35am starts.
Some of her days can be 14 hours long, but typically she covers the 4am to 12pm shifts.
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 2:35am starts
Once she’s changed into a high-visibility 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, with her task load increasing along the way
In one video, she explains that after getting up at 4am for four years she has learned to employ a couple of techniques to ensure she doesn’t fall back to sleep.
Firstly she says: ‘Once I hear my alarm I get out of bed. I do not hit snooze once. It sucks now but it’s going to suck even more in five minutes.’
Another of her cunning tricks is to always have something to look forward to.
This can involve having a new coffee pod to try or rustling up her favorite breakfast, which comprises of sliced banana and peanut butter on toast, dusted with cinnamon.
‘[It’s] just small simple things so right when you wake up you have something to look forward to,’ Rachel explains.
After leaving the house, the avid traveler usually gets to work at 3:50am.
Once she’s changed into a high visibility jacket she gets to work in the bag room, which is ‘where all the bags go after you check them in for your flight.’
In the bag room there is a conveyor belt where the luggage comes through, with ramp agents loading it on to small trucks or carts.
Before the luggage arrives, Rachel says she prepares the carts and gets them into the right position.
She also checks the computer ‘to see how many passengers there are because that gives me a good estimation of how many bags I can expect.’
Once all of the carts are full – generally about 35 minutes until departure – somebody will come to the bag room to take the luggage carts away.
Other tasks she performs as part of her job include de-icing the planes, marshaling in the aircraft, and pushing the planes back
If she has time, Rachel says she will take the carts out to load the plane and then get ready for the next flight
Rachel reveals that she usually clocks 15,000 to 16,000 steps per shift in the bag room, and from 4am to 6am she can expect about 200-300 bags
While Rachel says the ramp agent shifts seem long, they actually ‘go by so quickly’
However, she adds that the early starts and physical nature of the job leaves her ‘pretty exhausted’
If she has time, Rachel says she will take the carts out to load the plane and then get ready for the next flight.
She muses: ‘For the most part there’s a pretty constant stream of bags coming down on the belt.
‘From 4am to 6am I can expect anywhere from around 200 to 250 bags depending on if it’s a heavy travel day or not.’
Along with standard suitcases, Rachel has to ensure that oversized luggage including ‘bikes, strollers, surfboards, walking sticks [and] golf bags’ are carefully transferred on to the correct plane.
From about 6.30am to 9.30am, she says ‘there are only two small flights going out so it’s a little bit slower in the bag room.’
During this time, she works on her crochet project, and gets her snacks and breakfast from the break room.
After a break, she will set up her carts up for the next flights and then ‘pretty much from here on out throughout the rest of the day, it’s pretty busy in the bag room.’
Rachel reveals that she usually clocks 15,000 to 16,000 steps per shift in the bag room.
Other tasks she performs as part of her job include de-icing the planes, marshaling in the aircraft, and pushing the planes back.
While Rachel says the ramp agent shifts seem long, they actually ‘go by so quickly.’
However, she adds that they still leave her ‘pretty exhausted.’