People of SAS: Loading supervisor Magnus Farnes
Even if you only have a short time to make a connecting flight in Oslo, loading supervisor Magnus Farnes and his colleagues at SAS will be on the case.
“When I get to work, I check which flights we’ve been allocated. Then two to four flight workers head off to meet the flight in line with set procedures. We do a visual inspection to check there’s been no damage to the aircraft before connecting the power supply and emptying the cargo hold. After that, we get the baggage to be loaded into the hold.
However, before the baggage reaches that point, it’s sorted. Once a suitcase has been tagged at check-in and the tag is read, it’s sent to the sorting hall before being transported to the aircraft. Farnes gets a loading instruction report with information on how much baggage and freight should be loaded into each hold, which baggage is going to the flight destination, what is being transferred and which bags are prioritized. These instructions are also important to ensure that the aircraft is not too front or back-heavy.
“A scanner tells us how many bags are loaded onboard and into which hold they have been loaded. This is useful if a traveler doesn’t board the flight and we have to find their bags. Plus, we can see if there’s any baggage that we haven’t received and we can check each individual bag to see if it should be on another aircraft, he says”
EuroBonus Gold and Diamond members’ tags are sorted to ensure they’re the first onto the carousel on arrival.
Farnes and his colleagues also handle any animals being flown.
“We like taking care of animals. They’re transported to the aircraft at the last minute, as close to the departure time as possible,” he says.
But it’s not just people and animals on flights. In the cargo hold below the passengers, mail and goods are also loaded, like, for example, Norwegian salmon, which is freighted to many parts of the world.
Luckily, the team has plenty of equipment and technology to lighten the load.
“One example is a baggage conveyor called a Power Stow that we drive out to the aircraft. It has a telescopic band that we can extend into the cargo hold,” Farnes says.
SAS has invested heavily in equipment and technology over the past few years.
“Most of the vehicles on the apron here at the airport are electric-powered. We also use iPads now that enable us to work more efficiently and in a more environmentally friendly way.”
Farnes enjoys working here.
“I like the buzz of an airport. People are going off traveling, maybe on holiday or to visit someone they haven’t seen for a long time. I like the thought of helping them get away smoothly. And then there are the business travelers – flying is routine for them, but they still have high demands.”
Once the plane is loaded, Farnes and his team do what is known as a walk around or departure check to ensure that all of the hatches are closed and there’s no damage to the aircraft.
The final procedure is to push the aircraft from the departure gate with a pushback tractor. At this point, travelers can be confident that their baggage is safe and secure, but is there anything else they can do themselves for even more peace of mind?
“Sometimes, a bag tag can fall off. It’s worth labeling your bag with your name and phone number. When we find a bag without a tag, we don’t know which flight the baggage belongs to, but if it’s labeled with a name and phone number, it gives us a chance to search or call the traveler and get the bag out to the correct flight.”
Published: August 5, 2019