At Raipur, the air felt cleaner than Delhi. It was 11:30 AM, as it was already a delayed flight, the ground staff were buzzing in and around the plane. On the right side of the plane, the ramp team has swung into action. After opening the doors to the baggage and cargo holds, a belt-loader or a pod-loader was positioned, depending on the aircraft. “Rampie” is the industry term for airline employees who load and unload plane. The rampie inside the belly of a single-aisle plane places each piece of luggage onto the belt, and their partner takes it off the belt and puts it into a baggage cart. The carts head to the baggage room, and the luggage is dropped onto a conveyor, hopefully showing up on a carousel soon after you’ve arrived. Passengers collects the respective bags from there.
Stocking up with food
Soon the “Taj Catering trucks” joined the crowd outside the plane’s fuselage. Rising on a scissors lift, truck’s-box was matched the height of the plane’s galley doors. I was excitedl seeing and was eagerly awaiting to get back home and narrate the preparations which goes on while we wait for the boarding announcements at the gate of the airport. The catering crew replaced used galley carts with newly stocked ones, and each cart had a code for the next location pasted on them.It was all so well organized.There were few special meal request from passengers as Jain meal, baby meal, fresh fruits etc., the bun and butter kept on the left hand side of the tray looked so fresh and soft.It was packed separately and the passenger manifest had the seat numbers of passengers requested those meals which will be taken care by us during meal service.
After touching up my makeup and a quick walk from the forward till the aft cabin supervising the cleaning staff, I was back to the forward galley area as the tempting smell of Samosas ( popular indian savory) was all over.Though, the after effect of this tempting smell was not seen on anyone else than me, may be its my first day or Am I hungry again?
I shied upon my thoughts. The other crew were discussing something while checking themselves in the mirror and flight deck crew was not around. In the galley, the young crew loading the food trays was continually being instructed by a senior catering personnel who was standing right behind him carrying catering sheets and an annoyed look. I didnt liked him being bossy, and before I could express my feelings, my eyes 👀 fell on his shiny batch on which “Catering In-Charge Taj sats”…was printed. The effect of which was hot and bright and was so visible on the hanging trainee batch of the poor young guy. Understanding the situation, I wisely moved and decided to be around my senior. Thankfully me and my trainee batch was comfortable enough with my co-workers.
Cleaning the toilets
Perhaps it’s not the most desirable ramp job, but somebody’s got to empty the plane’s lavatory holding tanks, and refill the fresh water system. Rampies position a truck- or cart-mounted tank and pump unit, and connect hoses to do the work. Soon the aircaft, lavratories, galley, cabin and us were shining bright and fresh for our final destination Delhi.
The passengers looked more at ease then the first sector. The complimentary snacks due to flight delay was served at the airport. Other than a couple of confusions due to pax seating on wrong seats, or few seats exchange all was good, and soon we were closing the overhead lockers.