Yesterday we took a tour on the ramp through the eyes of the Operations agent. As important as “Ops” is to the punctuality of the airline, the central figure in timekeeping for the entirety of the aircraft’s stay in Boston is our Coordinator (also known as “Premium Services”).
From the moment the plane arrives to the moment it leaves the gate, the coordinator stands at or near the door to the aircraft and oversees the timing of the turnaround.
They coordinate the movement of the cleaners, ensure that the aircraft is being cleaned in a timely and correct manner, they also communicate with the caterers to ensure the proper number of meals is on board, and they communicate to the lounge and gate to update the departure times. There is also a good deal of communication with Ops since much of the cleaners’ materials such as fresh blankets and newspapers arrive in the cargo hold of the aircraft and have to be delivered upstairs for the return flight. The coordinator ensures that everything everyone needs for a smooth flight on board is there.
Additionally, once the crew is on board, they check that everything has been done properly. The coordinator is there to help the crew, which is often unfamiliar with Boston-specific procedures, to call any colleagues needed to do minor touch ups.
Only once the plane has been fuelled, the crew has done their safety checks, the caterers and cleaners have finished, and the captain has given his okay, can the coordinator call the gate and let them know it is okay to begin making boarding announcements. So the gate agent does not actually decide when to board the aircraft – it is the coordinator confirming from the crew that everything is ready and the plane is safe to board.
The gate agent, the passengers, the lounge, the crew, the caterers, the cleaners, Ops – all of these people rely on a competent, friendly, and efficient coordinator to ensure that they get to their final destination safely and on time. It’s a big job, but all in a day’s work at station!
Tomorrow is my last day blogging with you, and I’ll take the opportunity to tell you a bit about life at station!