Saudia Baggage Handlers Hard At Work

Filed Under: Other Airlines, Saudia

A video surfaced a couple of days ago of a couple of Saudia baggage handlers loading checked bags onto a belt. We see videos like this pretty often, though this one is especially jarring. It almost seems like they’re going out of their way to throw the bags with as much force as possible.

Here’s the video:


  1. I guess it’s the last point of bomb-checkin, if it doesn’t blow up when they throw it that hard it probably won’t blow up in the aircraft 🙂

  2. i think part of this is primitive envy. they just hate the fact that some people get to travel and they don’t, so they want to do damage… it’s so human.

  3. Looks like what I thought (feared) happened. I never assumed they would gingerly place each bag on the belt.

  4. I worked on the ramp for AA for 3 years. This is 100% normal behavior and how all bags are offloaded. Generally they are very heavy and you have to let gravity do a lot of the work so you don’t injure yourself. Nothing really to see here.

  5. What is surprising here. Things that break go in your carry-on. Clothing, etc goes into a regular suitcase.

  6. Oh, come on, it’s not “envy”, Lantean. It’s two guys doing that for 40+ hours a week who don’t really care that much about your bags, or their contents. If you unloaded thousands of suitcases every week, nor would you. It’s backbreaking work, not terribly well paid, and relentless.

    This is pretty standard behavior from my experience working on the ramp, and hardly shocking. It’s one of the reasons I try not to check bags, but certainly why one should avoid packing any kind of breakable in a checked piece of luggage, “FRAGILE” sticker or not. Leave your checked bag for clothes and paper, and like the vast majority of bags that come through the system, you won’t notice a thing.

  7. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary here. Every single person who has offloaded bags from an aircraft has either done the same thing or is a liar! 🙂

  8. @John, you really make me sick with that attitude! – Really hope you don’t work for an airline anymore or even get close to any business that has anything to do with air travel

  9. Seems unfair to point fingers at these individuals.

    They are offloading heavy bags onto a belt that appears to be 5-7 feet away from the source of the luggage. They are probably under pressure to work quickly. This is naturally going to result in them tossing the bags from point A to point B.

    The airline/airport should create a different setup if they want less impact on the bags.

  10. looks exactly like plane-side baggage loading I was watching on KL out of Budapest last week.

    Nothing new here – though I would note the baggage handlers for JAL in Tokyo seemed to show more care than most I’ve witnessed.

    Philadelphia US looked a lot like the Saudi video. Are their cultural issues at play?

  11. @hasse- your post makes me sad. John’s posts seem to me to be factual, based on experience, and devoid of attitude. Your reply, on the other hand seems completely over the top. I hope that your condemnation from the safety of Internet anonymity wouldn’t survive a face-to-face encounter. I know that I don’t pay nearly enough when I travel to have personal porters for my luggage, ramp work is hard manual labor, and logic my experience seems congruent with John’s evaluation.

  12. Let’s not forget that this is in the middle East. The weight and size the bags there is, as anyone who has been there, simply phenomenal! We used to call them “Paki-bags” in the souk. Those enormous bags on wheels that you could fit a Pakistani in.

  13. haha.. looks like they lost some “power” towards the end…. aint very strong after a few minutes… probably too tough a work out…

  14. Count me in with the “nothing unusual” crowd. I worked on the ramp for UPS in college and you should have seen the way some handlers treated parcels. Same thing with baggage. Not condoning it, but it is what it is.

    And yeah I dunno what the deal is with heavy baggage in that part of the world. People literally pack half their possessions for a one week trip. A friend of mine’s family from Kuwait visited the US some years ago and packed pots and pans from their kitchen!

  15. I have to agree with the “nothing to see here.” Did anyone really think bags are handled any differently? Is this very different than the force with which bags fall down the conveyor, or shake in the hold during turbulence?

    What do you expect them to do? These are heavy, heavy bags. I’d in fact argue the safest way for them to transport them is to throw them and use momentum, as opposed to gingerly lifting, which takes much more of a physical toll (and is much slower).

  16. Seriously, if you don’t want your checked bags treated this way you have two options: don’t check bags or don’t fly. This is absolutely normal and understandable considering the type of manual labor this is. I certainly won’t care about your luggage while you are stuffing every square inch of that luggage with your crap and making it heavy for me.

  17. There’s nothing ‘jarring’ about this.

    They’re offloading the bags quickly. No different than the forces a landing or some turbulence would put on them.

    There’s only so much force a couple of 150 pound guys can muster.

    Jarring would be throwing them off to the side and missing the belt so they are lost and misconnect.

  18. Meh….

    After just seeing video a few minutes ago on facebook that showed Miami/Dade baggage handlers going through passengers belongings and stealing- seeing them unload and toss bags on a belt isn’t really that jarring. And sa to this video, while they weren’t gingerly about it, I really didn’t seem them as being maliciously reckless or intentionally trying to damage belongings.

  19. Last time I checked a bag, my brand new (never been used) $800 Rimowa suitcase lost 3 of its 4 wheels. Luckily, I called Rimowa up and filed a warranty claim (this process took over 2 months), and received a new (much smaller) bag. At first I was used about the smaller suitcase, but then I realized that it is better for carry-on (which is what I always use now). I only carry-on regardless of: flight time, time in destination, etc… after this incident.

    (For those of you pointing fingers the airline was airberlin)

  20. What are they supposed to do, carefully place every bag on the belt? Do you know how long it would take and how tired they would get?

    If you want bags handled gentler,mget some German robotic baggage handler installed.

    Is is the best humans can do.

  21. I feel sorry that these workers got fired after the video surfaced, but at least it might mean better handling in the future.

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