Monday, 17 October 2011

Airport Week - Check-In

A few weeks ago, I wrote about about jobs what I did have way back in the day. In a rare bout of laziness, I'm going to treat you* to a few days worth of reposts about the time I spent as an airport steward five years ago.

A bit of context:- At the time, I was between jobs and taking any temp jobs that I could find to bring in a bit of cash. Fortunately for me, the airports were drafting in as much manpower as they could due to the fact that someone had attempted to smuggle in a bomb in their shoe. It was in this time of heightened security that the following posts were written.

Let the trip back in time commence...

So yesterday** I had a new working experience. I reported to the Control Room at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport, was issued with a high visibility jerkin that was yellow of colour and proceeded to be an ill-informed guide during this time of heightened security for around 8 hours. They didn't even search me on the way in. I told them I was here to work and they let me wander around the secure offices. I could have been anyone. In fact, I am anyone.

Ever wondered why people in those yellow waistcoats at airports seem to not only be uncertain but also pretty much know less about the airport than you? Well, that'll be because the likelihood is that they're a temp worker who's been drafted in for the day, given a relatively detail-free fifteen minute briefing on what they're supposed to be telling people and then plonked down at the nearest available access point. I'll be honest, I felt somewhat on the silly side at times. I mean, if you're standing around in a highly visible fluorescent item of clothing and people tend to (quite naturally) assume you have some knowledge of your surrounding environs. Imagine their dismay when their query is greeted by the opening gambit of "Erm..." closely followed by the closing move of "I have no idea".

Still, despite my ignorance of the basic structure and functions of Heathrow Terminal 2, it was a good laugh. I meet a fair few other people in the same boat as me (struggling unemployed types signed up to loads of agencies who've only been offered this as gainful work so far) and we did get paid for mostly standing and chatting to each other. It wasn't as busy as you'd have thought and most people have been watching the news over the last week so have got a reasonable idea what to expect.

So, as no other work has been forthcoming so far, I am venturing back there to don the Waistcoat of Doom once again for eight hours a day for the next three days. The only real downside is that my start time is 6 a.m. There's a 6 o'clock in the morning now? When did that get put in?***

* And by "treat", I of couse mean "spend some time building up new material by giving you rewarmed old toot in the meantime".

**Yesterday five years ago.

*** How little did I know that my current job would make me intimately familiar with 6 a.m. starts on some days and 11 p.m. finishes on others.

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