When you check your bags at the airport, you shouldn’t expect that they’re handled with particular care. However, you probably also shouldn’t expect that they’re intentionally thrown around with extra force. Along those lines, video footage has gone viral of some pretty egregious baggage handling at Melbourne Airport.
Viral video of Melbourne baggage handlers slamming bags
In a video posted online, baggage handlers at Melbourne Airport in Australia can be seen carelessly handling the bags of passengers. It’s not that they don’t gently place them on the belt, but rather they slam them with extra force, throw them in the air, and in some cases miss the baggage belt altogether.
On the plus side, they all seem to enjoy their jobs, as they can be seen smiling and laughing throughout the video about their performance.
The baggage handlers work for Swissport, a global ground handling company that Qantas contracts to for its baggage handling services. In 2020, Qantas fired most of its own baggage handling staff, instead replacing them with outsourced employees.
The three employees shown in the video have all been suspended pending the results of an investigation.
A Qantas spokesperson states that “the behavior in this video is clearly not acceptable, and our contracted ground handler is conducting an urgent investigation.” Meanwhile a spokesperson for Swissport states that “Swissport trains and manages all staff to handle customer possessions with care and diligence, and the actions of staff in the video appear to have contravened those service level standards.”
Interestingly this video footage was first posted on TikTok, and the context for that isn’t known:
- Was someone with access to the security footage horrified by this, and wanted to expose it?
- Were the baggage handlers proud of this and intentionally posted the video, given that they were even smiling and laughing in the video?
Obviously this is wrong, but…
It goes without saying that what’s shown in the video is wrong, full stop. It’s even confusing, because clearly they’re just having fun slamming bags, and I’m not sure why?
However, bigger picture I can’t help but feel bad for baggage handlers, and reflect on the overall situation at Qantas:
- Qantas in late 2020 outsourced all of its baggage handler jobs, as a cost cutting measure; Qantas management has repeatedly shown that the company views employees as being completely replaceable (that includes pilots, flight attendants, and more), and that’s reflected here
- Baggage handlers are among the hardest working, lowest paid, and most under appreciated workers in the airline industry, not to even mention the physical toll the job can take; they’re moving heavy bags all day under time pressure, and never really get appreciated for when they do a great job
So while there’s of course no excuse for the extent to which the employees pictured here are intentionally slamming bags, you should expect that when you check a bag, it won’t be handled with care. Well, except in Japan…
Some Swissport baggage handlers working on behalf of Qantas have been seen slamming bags at Melbourne Airport. It’s not entirely clear what exactly was going on here — is this just how they usually work, or were they filming their own video for entertainment, or something?
Regardless, all three baggage handlers have been suspended pending an investigation. It’s also probably not a coincidence that all of this happened after Qantas outsourced all of its baggage handling jobs.
What do you make of this video?