Back in April I went to a job fair at the Bozeman Airport to get ideas on non-pilot careers in aviation. While I was there I stopped at Delta Airlines and told the guy at the booth of my situation. He gave me some ideas we ended up talking for a while and he offered to give me a tour of the ramp to give me the chance to talk to these people first hand and ask them about their jobs.
After a few months of negotiating and planning my mom was sent an itinerary of the day.
We showed up at the airport and I was taken into to back into the break room for Delta. After talking for a few minutes we then went out into to the baggage room and got to see how it all works. Afterwards we went out onto the ramp where an A320 was getting turned around back to Minneapolis and I was shown the fans that they put by the wheels to cool the breaks after landing.
A little while later we went over to a tug that was connected to an E175 bound for Salt Lake City and I was offered to ride in the tug during the pushback. I gladly accepted the offer, I have a video of the pushback I will put here.
After that I was offered to see the other side of the pushback when I was asked if I wanted to wing-walk a 737 departing to JFK. It was definitely intimidating but it was so cool to get an up close look at the pushback procedure.
After that we took a lunch break and chatted with the lost luggage clerk and check-in people.
After lunch we headed back out to the ramp for the star of the show: the A321 from Atlanta.
Once the engines were shut down I was lead under the airplane and we walked around it and the headroom wasn’t too bad. We then went up the jetway stairs and hung out in the jetway while passengers were disembarking. After waiting for a few minutes we went up into the terminal to meet the outbound pilots. We were met by the first officer and once he was ready we all walked down the jetway together and boarded the aircraft. I got to sit in the flight deck and talk to the F/O for a few minutes before the captain came onboard and we chatted with him for a bit. Before we left the First Officer took this picture of me in the flight deck.
Once we got back up to the gate area it was time for boarding and we chatted with the gate agents for a bit. Soon the printer started spitting out paper, I ignored it it was arranged and divided up and I still ignored it until they handed it to me. It was the flight release and they wanted me to take it down to the flight and give one sheet to the captain and the other to the lead flight attendant. I walked down to the plane and gave the flight release to the captain he signed it and gave it back to me and then I gave it to the gate agent that was with us. I then got to see the door get closed and I got to ride in the jetway as it moved off the airplane. I then went down below the wing onto the ramp and I was told that I could jump in the tug again and ride along for the pushback. It was the same driver as before and she was really happy to see me again! Once the plane was taxing out I then got to talk to her and ask how it is pushing back airplanes.
Before I knew it was the end of one of the best days I’ve ever had and it has made me switch career paths from being a pilot to becoming a ramper and working at the airport with the airlines.
To be honest I still don’t have any words to explain how excited I was about this and I think about this experience everyday.
Thank you for reading my story and I hope I inspired some people and if not I’m still grateful you. Have a wonderful day or night!