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Old Sep 25, 10, 11:25 am   #1
 
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We Were Delta Air Lines Gate Agents for the Morning

Saw some new gate agents at ATL today...




Last edited by Canarsie; Sep 26, 10 at 6:15 pm.. Reason: Removed now-off-topic content.
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Old Sep 25, 10, 11:29 am   #2
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Saw some new gate agents at ATL today...
Apparently Delta no longer has any standards at all.
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Old Sep 25, 10, 11:34 am   #3
 
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Originally Posted by WesNSpace View Post
Saw some new gate agents at ATL today...




WOW... they look like real people... oops... I mean real GAs..
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Old Sep 25, 10, 1:14 pm   #4
 
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Folks, atldlff, Canarsie, WesNSpace and atl runner (yours truly) just finished up a fantastic day of dry-running the Walk a Mile in a Gate Agent's Shoes event. It was an incredible experience and we will be writing about it on the blog for the event that Canarsie created.

In general, you would not believe all of the things that a Gate Agent has to keep track of--not just processing seat requests, upgrades, standby pax, etc. They have folks from other flights coming up and asking questions, need to make sure that things like security sweeps, cleaning crews and caterers are there and doing their jobs, checking in and communicating with the onboard crew, etc.

And if the boarding door is not closed exactly two minutes before the scheduled departure time, they get "written up" and have to file all sorts of paperwork. Any delay has to get assigned to someone or something (the caterers, the gate agent, the onboard crew, the baggage handlers, an unruly pax, weather, etc--or combination thereof) so it gives you a great appreciation of the stress they are under to get the plane closed out on time. As we all know, if the flights start running late, the snowball effect will only make things worse as the day goes on.

The gate agent job is multi-tasking to an unbelievable level--not sure how they do it. But, they do, and our hosts couldn't have been more gracious.

Anyway, more in the blog over the next few days, but those of you doing this event are in for a real treat.
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Last edited by atl runner; Sep 25, 10 at 1:28 pm..
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Old Sep 25, 10, 3:32 pm   #5
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Originally Posted by atl runner View Post
Folks, atldlff, Canarsie, WesNSpace and atl runner (yours truly) just finished up a fantastic day of dry-running the Walk a Mile in a Gate Agent's Shoes event. It was an incredible experience and we will be writing about it on the blog for the event that Canarsie created.

In general, you would not believe all of the things that a Gate Agent has to keep track of--not just processing seat requests, upgrades, standby pax, etc. They have folks from other flights coming up and asking questions, need to make sure that things like security sweeps, cleaning crews and caterers are there and doing their jobs, checking in and communicating with the onboard crew, etc.

And if the boarding door is not closed exactly two minutes before the scheduled departure time, they get "written up" and have to file all sorts of paperwork. Any delay has to get assigned to someone or something (the caterers, the gate agent, the onboard crew, the baggage handlers, an unruly pax, weather, etc--or combination thereof) so it gives you a great appreciation of the stress they are under to get the plane closed out on time. As we all know, if the flights start running late, the snowball effect will only make things worse as the day goes on.

The gate agent job is multi-tasking to an unbelievable level--not sure how they do it. But, they do, and our hosts couldn't have been more gracious.

Anyway, more in the blog over the next few days, but those of you doing this event are in for a real treat.
We arrived at the airport very early in the morning, as it was still dark outside — but after a briefing and three flights later, it was already over. How did six hours go by so fast?!? I did not want to leave the gate at which I was working, but how can I resist a tour of the control tower at Concourse E?

Yes, you read that correctly — and they just installed new technology that might amaze you.

I would post photographs from the control tower, but I took the pictures with atldlff’s camera and he is most likely currently napping after the day he had, which included handling an international flight.

I performed such tasks as making announcements, releasing seats for stand-by passengers, directing connecting passengers from the arriving flights to their gates, finding gates for flights on the computer using codes — amongst other things. I even learned how to “bust” a seat! I learned a lot from my fellow gate agent, who is a veteran employee of Delta Air Lines.

I have so much to say about today. It was indeed an eye-opening experience that at first made me feel a bit overwhelmed even though today was a relatively easy day for a typical gate agent, but I became more acclimated to the job as the day wore on.

There was nothing more satisfying than the heartfelt “Thank you” given to me by several customers.
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Old Sep 25, 10, 3:44 pm   #6
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I even learned how to “bust” a seat!
What does that mean? (Aside from the obvious result when Cholula sits down on one not made of reinforced steel.)
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Old Sep 25, 10, 3:47 pm   #7
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What does that mean? (Aside from the obvious result when Cholula sits down on one not made of reinforced steel.)
When a passenger does not show up within 30 minutes — or fewer, if the opportunity calls for it — of their flight, the gate agent will “bust” the seat in the economy class cabin so that it becomes available for stand-by passengers, or in the first class cabin so that it becomes available for those eligible passengers waiting on the upgrade list.

By the way, I learned definitively that if one boards a flight before waiting to see if the upgrade list clears their upgrade, they technically lose the upgrade chance once boarding, although many gate agents are lenient and reportedly do not strictly follow that policy.
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Old Sep 25, 10, 4:01 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by Canarsie View Post

By the way, I learned definitively that if one boards a flight before waiting to see if the upgrade list clears their upgrade, they technically lose the upgrade chance once boarding, although many gate agents are lenient and reportedly do not strictly follow that policy.
A VERY important BTW......Have boarded w/o u/g clearance only to secure bin storage space...
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Old Sep 25, 10, 4:02 pm   #9
 
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We arrived at the airport very early in the morning, as it was still dark outside — but after a briefing and three flights later, it was already over. How did six hours go by so fast?!?
I also learned not to park in short term parking if you are going to spend several hours at the airport. How about a $32 parking tab. At least that's 32 more Sky Miles on my AXP/DL Biz Reserve Card.
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Old Sep 25, 10, 4:18 pm   #10
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Originally Posted by dedehans View Post
A VERY important BTW......Have boarded w/o u/g clearance only to secure bin storage space...
Interestingly, that was the main reason cited by the gate agent...

Last edited by Canarsie; Sep 25, 10 at 7:54 pm..
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Old Sep 25, 10, 5:46 pm   #11
 
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Originally Posted by Canarsie View Post
By the way, I learned definitively that if one boards a flight before waiting to see if the upgrade list clears their upgrade, they technically lose the upgrade chance once boarding, although many gate agents are lenient and reportedly do not strictly follow that policy.
THANK YOU for posting this....it amazes me how often this still comes up....
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Old Sep 25, 10, 6:38 pm   #12
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Here is one observation I had while I was a gate agent earlier today:

I was incredibly surprised at how many people do not read what is clearly in plain view.

For example, behind me on the podium was a sign in bright red lighted letters containing the flight information, including the destination, and yet people still asked me if they were at the correct gate. Of course, I politely answered their questions with a smile and they were appreciative, but I was stunned at the same time.

When I mentioned my findings to the gate agent, he shook his head and smiled and said that he was not surprised at all, as this happens all of the time, and we had a 15-minute discussion about the different scenarios about how this happens...

Last edited by Canarsie; Sep 25, 10 at 7:56 pm..
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Old Sep 25, 10, 6:51 pm   #13
 
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What an incredible day...

After a much needed nap, I am awake again. I will post more details about today’s experience in the blog at some point, but let me make a few initial comments here. First, of all the venues that you will be experiencing over the four days, this one, without a doubt, will forever change your view of what these incredibly hard working men and women do for Delta on a daily basis. We all thought we understood their role from a passenger experience, but I am here to tell you, you are in for a major eye-opening experience. Simply put, I am in awe.

Will you be involved? That is a major understatement. Between the four of us, we made announcements, scanned boarding passes, printed endless paperwork, got pilot and ramp sign-offs, catered ice that was missing, boarded an international flight, provided connecting flight assistance, handled mis-connected passengers and bags, answered an overwhelming amount of questions that come at you at an incredible pace - what gate is my flight was departing out of? Direct people to the Rest Rooms, the Sky Club, and the list goes on and on… and all this before 10:00 am.

Today is a great example of why we do a “dry run”. We all learned from the process. We de-briefed after it was over. We will be adding some details, and making some changes so that we are even more prepared for the rest of you when you show up in four weeks. You will have a cheat sheet of the JL codes to look up flight and gate information on your own, as well as information to have situational awareness of where the closest Restroom and SkyClub are located, and be able to quickly and effectively direct people to the escalator to the (left or right at the food court ), depending on whether they are going to Baggage Claim, or one of the other concourses. This varies depending on the gate and concourse you are at, and you may be directing a passenger who has never been in the ATL airport, so you want to get it right.

The question my daughter asked when I got home… did anyone lose their temper or get mad. I happened to be at Canarsie’s gate and we ended up dealing with two such situations. Yep, they were right in our face, and one was even throwing things on the ground in a major temper tantrum and yelling at us about the *&#$*! Gate display being wrong. I happy to report, we put our best customer service skills into practice, and while they didn’t get to board the flight because the door was already closed, we did manage to calm them down and get them on later flights.

So… my advice to all of you: Be excited, and come prepared. You will have fun. You will also work incredibly hard. Wear comfortable, and I mean comfortable shoes, you will be walking a good deal, and standing most of the time. Bring your smile, practice saying “Thank you” and “have a good flight.” Bring your desire to help passengers no matter how confused they seem. And finally, bring your patience and ability to listen, and express concern, you are going to need it.

Both you and the Gate Agent you will be assigned to work with, will learn a great deal from each other in this process. For those of you participating, I am happy to report, the actual experience overwhelmingly exceeded our wildest expectations!

WELCOME ABOARD!

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Old Sep 25, 10, 7:17 pm   #14
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Originally Posted by atldlff View Post
Will you be involved? That is a major understatement. Between the four of us, we made announcements, scanned boarding passes, printed endless paperwork, got pilot and ramp sign-offs, catered ice that was missing, boarded an international flight, provided connecting flight assistance, handled mis-connected passengers and bags, answered an overwhelming amount of questions that come at you at an incredible pace - what gate is my flight was departing out of? Direct people to the Rest Rooms, the Sky Club, and the list goes on and on… and all this before 10:00 am.
Interestingly enough, while there were experiences as gate agents the four of us shared in common, we found that not only did we each have wildly varied and different experiences as gate agents between each other, but I was amazed at how each of the three flights at my gate were very different experiences as well.

Also, when making gate announcements, you may “ad-lib” and even use some humor, if you like. However, the gate agent with whom I worked cautioned that “a gate agent must know his audience.” For example, it might not be a good idea to play around with the passengers at the gate of an early Monday morning flight to LaGuardia Airport in New York.

What pleased me was that the gate agents with whom we worked revealed when they were de-briefed afterwards that they enjoyed this experiment as much as we did. Not only would they do it again, but there are many gate agents who want to do this as well.

Finally, for those of you who want to “walk a mile” — and that is literal, we found out this morning — in their shoes, be prepared to answer their questions of understanding how the mind of a frequent flier passenger works as well as asking them questions about the role and thought process of a gate agent. I found that not only did we understand each other significantly better by the time my “shift” was over, but that we grew much closer than at the start of the “shift” six hours earlier.

Again, the experience far surpassed my expectations...
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Old Sep 25, 10, 7:21 pm   #15
 
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Saw some new gate agents at ATL today...







LOL I about choked when you were on the phone and just said what day are we going to have dinner at the aquarium. Good job on that out of the blue guess.
Canarsie is now a DL Gate Agent? Wow!
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