All too often we see videos of baggage handlers go viral for all the wrong reasons, due to checked bags being violently thrown around, as if it’s a game. Well, here’s a video of ramp agents going viral for a completely different reason.
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Ramp agent held accountable for throwing bags
Let me acknowledge that we don’t have a whole lot of context here, but this is such a feel-good video that you can’t help but share it. And clearly I’m not alone, because the video has been viewed more than 27 million times on Twitter/X in the short 15 hours since it has been published.
Presumably this video started to be filmed by a passenger because a baggage handler was scanning checked bags, and then carelessly throwing them to the ground. However, there’s a twist — just a few seconds into the video, the “crew chief” sees what’s going on, and approaches the baggage handler.
They proceed to have quite a conversation, and while we can’t hear what they’re saying, the assumption is that the crew chief is telling the baggage handler that she’s not handling the bags the way that they should be handled. He gestures toward the bags scattered across the apron.
Interestingly the baggage handler seems to get pretty defensive, so I am curious what’s actually being said. Honestly, based on his body language, he’s doing a great job managing the situation — after she’s initially angry, he seems to try to talk to her calmly, and then eventually she walks away less angry. She proceeds to pick up all the bags, and then they continue loading bags onto the aircraft.
This level of accountability is rare
Given the incredibly challenging logistics involved, it’s amazing how efficiently the airline industry runs. That being said, if there’s one area where the airline industry sometimes fails to deliver, it’s when it comes to accountability with frontline employees.
Whether it’s flight attendants, or gate agents, or baggage handlers, it’s all too common to see people not following company procedures or to not be providing good service, yet to not be held accountable in any way.
Admittedly this largely comes down to the hierarchy in the airline industry. For example, with flight attendants at US airlines, there’s not actually a flight attendant who supervises the crew. Sure, you might have a purser who gets paid a few extra dollars per hour to do paperwork, make announcements, and assign positions, but that’s hardly a supervisory role.
Compare that to Emirates, where the purser is responsible for evaluating the performance of other crew members, and where they actually have the ability to discipline them.
Similarly with baggage handlers, it’s sad how there rarely seems to be any accountability. You’ll see some baggage handlers drop bags from many feet up with their colleagues directly seeing it, but of course no one usually says “hey, that’s not cool.”
But it’s also not surprising, on many levels. Baggage handlers have physically challenging jobs, they’re not compensated very well, they’re constantly under time pressure, and there’s not much direct accountability in terms of the way in which they handle bags. They also don’t directly interact with customers, so they probably don’t associate the bags they’re mishandling with the people that they belong to. It’s not surprising that some of them treat handling bags like a game.
That’s also why the above video is so remarkable, and why it’s resonating with so many people. We don’t expect this level of accountability among baggage handlers, though it sure is nice to see.
A video is going viral of an American Airlines crew chief seemingly reprimanding a colleague of his for unnecessarily throwing bags. At least I think that’s the conclusion most of us are coming to, because this is the kind of stuff we want to see in the airline industry.
What do you make of this video?