Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Gate Agents

Gate agents are the people you yell at in the terminal when your plane is late. You know, the ones whose fault it isn't. This is one job I could never do. If I had to explain to 62 people that they would be staying in a hotel in Salt Lake City for the evening instead of going to whatever destination they were destined for because it decided to rain, I think I would quit right there. So acknowledging that these people have the hardest job in the world, I am now about to bag on them.
There are certain places you find people who can't count to certain numbers. People who can't count to four you find at a four-way stop. People who can't count to 10, 12, and 15 are at the express check-out lane. And people who can't count to 50, 70, and 76 are gate agents. Just before the plane takes off, we have to count the skulls on board (categorizing them into adults, kids, and infants) and reconcile them with the gate agents who, more often than not, have it right. But sometimes you catch one smoking crack, and then this happens:

DUMB (walking on board): Abu-habu.
ME: Uh, what?
DUMB: Nothing.
ME: Right.
DUMB: So, do we have 16 adults, 40 kids and 37 infants?
ME: Uh... no. We have 47 adults, 5 kids, and no infants.
DUMB stares for a moment.
DUMB: Well... do you think we might have 16 adults, 40 kids and 37 infants?

I actually had a lady do that to me my first week on the job... she tried to Jedi Mind Trick me into agreeing with her count so she wouldn't have to count again. Didn't work... only money works.
Things have gotten incrementally worse now that we have changed the planes we use on certain routes. For example, some places we used to take a 76-seater we now use a 70 seater. And, like you might see coming, they sometimes send out 76 people. There's really not that much room in these planes to begin with, and it's only that much more amusing to see six people Tetrised into the space next to the lav, trying to figure out where to go.
Last week, we took a 50-seater home from Billings in place of the regular 70-seater. You can imagine how fun that was, having to deflect 26 people back to the gate agent.
And sometimes, for my own twisted amusement, I imagine now much fun it was for the gate agent once they got there.


Blogger Clarence said...

I have had to restrain myself from throttling gate agents on more than one occasion. Once, some Delta gate agents actually yelled at us and insulted us for not knowing something we could not have possibly known, and implied that we did not deserve to get onto the plane.

1:22 PM  
Blogger The Flying Pinto said...

That's funny stuff! I haven't run into gate agents that dumb....we have a love/hate relationship with our agents....usually love, but when we run into a delay situation they usually try to pin it on us, the Flight Attendants: )

2:00 PM  
Blogger The Flying Pinto said...

Oh, and I actually did have a friend of mine quit on her 1st day as a gate agent!

2:01 PM  
Blogger Traytable said...

As an FA who USED to be a gate agent, I find it interesting to have been on both sides, and boy does it help endear me to a gate agent when I have already punched up the info on the screen they were about to say we had to wait for ;)

7:57 AM  

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