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What Happens To Bags Once Inside The Hold?  
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19997 posts, RR: 59
Posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 12616 times:

I know it seems like a silly question, but I see bags being loaded and unloaded all the time. What goes on inside the hold? Are there shelves? Do they just stack them up? For larger aircraft like a 747, is there a conveyor belt of some sort? Some airlines treat F and J bags with priority. How do they organize the hold to allow that?

65 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineb78710 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 343 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 12610 times:

Jumbo has a belt and pulley system that drives rubber wheels to move the bins fore and aft in the hold and then laterally at the mouth of the door.

340-300 use a system of PDU's (power drive units) esentially the same as the jumbo but without the belts and bulleys, just a motor spinning a rubber wheel. The 340-600's have a slighlty more complex system of PDU's with light sensors, so that the motor only turns when a bin is directly over it. Saves on wear but its a bugger when the sensors get a bit dirty.

We hardly ever get any problems with the jumbo cargo loading systems, the odd snapped belt or sheared driveshaft. Whereas the 340-600 I probably get called up there every 3 or 4 days for a problem. Its just to clever for its own good.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17071 posts, RR: 66
Reply 2, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 12587 times:

As I understand it, before you go load into the hold, there are two main methods:
- "Loose", where the bags are just "piled in" one by one in the hold. Most common on "smaller" aircraft, say 737/320 and down.
- Containerized, where the bags are put in aircraft cargo containers like any other cargo and then these are put in the hold. Most common on larger aircraft. Even an aircraft uses containers, there may be holds that do not use containers due to shape. So these get "loose" bags.

Some 320 operators, for example, use containers, while some go "loose". Depends on operational demands.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6085 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 12497 times:

On the narrowbodies (sans certain A320s,) it will be bulk, manual loading. The bags get stacked (not piled, as that would connotate that they are just thrown in without care) together to form walls. When you have a nice variety of bags to choose from, it's easier than one thinks, but it takes some time before one really gets good stacking bags without knowing what's coming up the belt.

On the widebodies, the same thing is done with the containers, and then the containers are loaded onto the plane. Anything arriving last minute (or live animals) will be loaded into the bulk bin.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlinePlaneWasted From Sweden, joined Jan 2008, 536 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 12464 times:

Won't the bags move around if they are just stacked? Or are they secured somehow?

User currently offlineplanenut767 From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 66 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 12418 times:

Quoting PlaneWasted (Reply 4):

Won't the bags move around if they are just stacked? Or are they secured somehow?

Once they're stacked they have cargo nets that are installed to keep the bags from moving and shifting. On occasion though the ramp doesn't secure the nets properly and the result is a door that won't open. On widebodies they have retractable locks that are put down to install the containers and brought back up to secure them in place.


User currently offlineB6JFKH81 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2896 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 12406 times:

Quoting PlaneWasted (Reply 4):
Won't the bags move around if they are just stacked? Or are they secured somehow?

There are a lot of different nets that can get installed in the cargo holds, with many different configurations depending on how the bin needs to be set up. While items in the bin can shift and move around, the movement is limited by these nets to avoid large weight shifts, damage to cargo bin walls/aircraft, and damage to the rest of the items in the hold.



"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
User currently offlineAirportugal310 From Tokelau, joined Apr 2004, 3665 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 12345 times:

On 717's I used to load, it was just bulk/manual loading in the back in no real order. The name of the game was to not waste any room and make it one big interlocking 'puzzle'. With handles out!!! Could not stand having to yank the bags OUT if it wasn't done that way...

Quoting planenut767 (Reply 5):
On occasion though the ramp doesn't secure the nets properly and the result is a door that won't open.

True. Then it becomes a pushing and shoving match to try and force it open enough to yank a bag or four out to make it open.



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6085 posts, RR: 14
Reply 8, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 12323 times:

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 6):
There are a lot of different nets that can get installed in the cargo holds, with many different configurations depending on how the bin needs to be set up.

This may have changed since I ramped, but the MD-80s I loaded only had curtains on the blocker door, and that was it. If stacked correctly, there should be little if any shifting at all during normal flight regimes. It would have to take some serious forward or backward inertia to move the bags.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlinejwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 19
Reply 9, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 12257 times:

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 3):
On the narrowbodies (sans certain A320s,) it will be bulk, manual loading.

A320 as designed was to require containerised only, but this was later changed to allowing either containerised or loose loading.



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineDrfix2fly From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 28 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 12259 times:

its like that samsonite comercial from the 1980s a giant gorilla jumps up and down on the bags untill they are unloaded at your destination

User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6085 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 12243 times:

Quoting jwenting (Reply 9):
A320 as designed was to require containerised only, but this was later changed to allowing either containerised or loose loading.

Like I said, sans certain A320s. In otherwords, yes, I know that there were a number of A320s built that were built to accept containers.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6413 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 12212 times:

So, is any provision made for bags that are arriving at a final destination vs. ones that are making a connection? I'm especially interested in how this is handled in bulk-loaded aircraft   I'm really, really interested in how point-to-point carriers like WN load bags in regards to connections.


Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineRJLover From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 577 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 12152 times:

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 11):
Like I said, sans certain A320s. In otherwords, yes, I know that there were a number of A320s built that were built to accept containers.

Most of AC's A320s are configured to be container loaded. The execptions being the Jetz aircraft when they are in the Jetz config., they are bulk loaded. In the summer the aircraft are returned to the mainline config, both above and below the wing (standard mainline seating and containerized loading).

As far as loading the bags themselves....

When I was throwing bags for WS/QX, stacking was hard work, but was fun to do. It is like playing a giant game of Tetrus. You have no idea what shape the next bag will be, until you get it in your hand. So long as the bags were stacked nice and tight, they weren't going anywhere. CNX bags were always loaded seperately from local bags. CNX bags that had less then 45 minutes to connect (hot bags) were always loaded seperately from the rest of the bags so they could be offloaded right away.

All the aircraft I loaded were bulk loaded, I've never had to load a containerized aircraft.



Last Flight(s): YHZ-YUL-YYC-YVR-YYJ // YYJ-YYZ-YSJ-YHZ.....Next Flight(s):
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 14, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 12147 times:

Quoting b78710 (Reply 1):
340-300 use a system of PDU's (power drive units) esentially the same as the jumbo but without the belts and bulleys, just a motor spinning a rubber wheel.

Boeing has gone this way on all the new stuff too...767, 777, 787, and 747-8F use the PDU-style system.

Tom.


User currently offlineplanenut767 From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 66 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 12101 times:

Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 7):
True. Then it becomes a pushing and shoving match to try and force it open enough to yank a bag or four out to make it open.

Yes it does, but every once in a while that's not enough depending on how the bags and cargo ended up. When brute strength doesn't work you have to go to plan b, which is go up into the cabin and take floor boards and seat rows out to access the cargo pit from up above and dislodge it that way. I should say that taking that kind of action is rare (at least in my case).


User currently offlineA333TS From Canada, joined May 2008, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 11950 times:

Are there any pictures of the hold on a.net, or can someone take a picture of different areas for us to see (without getting in trouble).


A333TS


User currently offlinec5load From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 917 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 11942 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 2):
Containerized, where the bags are put in aircraft cargo containers like any other cargo and then these are put in the hold.

I've always wondered how are bags loaded into the containers? Is there a certain system for catogerizing bags? Example: A 767 from LAX-ATL, are connecting international bags all loaded in one container, connecting domestic bags in one, terminating bags in one? You get the picture.



Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 7):
Could not stand having to yank the bags OUT if it wasn't done that way...

Indeed! Or having all the damn golf bags and hard cases in the doorway, so they all slide out at you the second you open the door!



"But this airplane has 4 engines, it's an entirely different kind of flying! Altogether"
User currently offlinePWMRamper From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 639 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 11927 times:

Quoting A333TS (Reply 16):
Are there any pictures of the hold on a.net, or can someone take a picture of different areas for us to see (without getting in trouble).


A333TS

Next time I'm at work I'll take a few pictures of an RJ200/700 rear bin.


User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5675 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 11911 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 12):
So, is any provision made for bags that are arriving at a final destination vs. ones that are making a connection? I'm especially interested in how this is handled in bulk-loaded aircraft I'm really, really interested in how point-to-point carriers like WN load bags in regards to connections.

Connecting bags are generally loaded last, in front of the local bags, so that they're the first off the airplane.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlinePWM2TXLHopper From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1342 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 11850 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
I know it seems like a silly question, but I see bags being loaded and unloaded all the time. What goes on inside the hold? Are there shelves? Do they just stack them up? For larger aircraft like a 747, is there a conveyor belt of some sort? Some airlines treat F and J bags with priority. How do they organize the hold to allow that?


No shelves. Just a big open aluminum bins, On narrow-bodies the bags are essentially just stacked together. As stated, it takes a while to get good at stacking them and utilizing the available space to get as many bags packed in as possible. It's kind of like putting together a puzzle. You don't want gaps of open space between bags. As little as possible. Finding a way to to put them all together tightly, thus minimizing open space between them is where the skill comes in. On heavily loaded flights, sloppy stacking with open gaps wastes precious bin space when you ad up the volume of all the open space between bags that aren't stacked together tightly.

Narrowbody bins can be a bit cramped. Particularly, DC-9's and MD-80's. In those, a good pair of knee pads are a must for a ramper, because there's no enough space to stand up! You're on your knees. And that sucks when you're in rear bin 3, and have to hustle back and fourth on your knees from the door where the bags come up the belt, to the back of the bin 15-20 feet from the door! Also, when the planes land, the bin floor is freezing!

On some of the DL MD-80's I've worked, Delta had electronically controlled rear bins. I think they were called "Carpet Loaders?" They had a "conveyor belt" type floor/bulkhead controlled by a button on the wall by the bin door. The bulkhead wall separating the rear bins from the front bins could be retracted so that the wall was right at the cargo door where the bags came on. The ramper would sit there, receive and stack the bags as they came on-board, then when he ran out of space, he'd just push the button on the wall and the conveyor would move the bags back. He'd load more bags on the belt/floor until he needed more room, and then would just keep repeated the process. It sounds like it would be easier, but a lot of guys didn't like it. We'd just retract the conveyor all the way to the bulkhead before we started loading, and manually carry/push/throw the bags to the rear of the bin because it was faster than doing a dozen bags, and then briefly pausing to push the button and convey the bags deeper into the bin. (The first photo below shows a carpet loader in a DL 737-800)


737/757/A320 are a little more comfortable to work in. You can actually stand up and walk in those, although you might have to duck a little bit.

Widebodies have plenty of space to move about. On those, most bags are put into LD3 style cargo containers before they get to the plane. Cargo, and sometimes even bags may be put on pallets as well. The containers or pallets are then lifted up into the plane by ground equipment and pushed into the bin. The containers have little wheels on the bottoms so they roll easy. In the containers, a single man can push one weighing hundreds of pounds. Widebodies often have bins were loose bags that aren't in containers can be free loaded as well. On 767's, the bin door for this smaller bin is on the rear left bottom of the fuselage.

Delta 737-800 with Carpet Loading bin

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Photo © Aaron Hall



777 Bin


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Photo © Mark Sluiters

klm

A330 Bin

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Photo © Glenn White



767 Bin

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Photo © Fyodor Borisov - Russian AviaPhoto Team



A340 Bin with Crew Rest Module installed.

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Photo © Sven van der Mespel



CRJ-900 Bin

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Photo © Pascal Gaudreau



Palette Cargo and Cargo Containers

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Photo © Vasco Garcia (VDG-Images)



LD3 Cargo/Baggage Containers rampside of Air Berlin A330-200

Quoting c5load (Reply 17):
I've always wondered how are bags loaded into the containers? Is there a certain system for catogerizing bags? Example: A 767 from LAX-ATL, are connecting international bags all loaded in one container, connecting domestic bags in one, terminating bags in one? You get the picture.
Quoting KELPkid (Reply 12):
So, is any provision made for bags that are arriving at a final destination vs. ones that are making a connection? I'm especially interested in how this is handled in bulk-loaded aircraft I'm really, really interested in how point-to-point carriers like WN load bags in regards to connections.

With containers, it's s much the same as loading planes without containers. Once your bag disappears behind the check in desk, it's picked up off the belt behind the scenes by a ramper. Instead of being put on a luggage cart to be taken out behind a tug, it's put into a container, and that container is then loaded onto a tug where it's taken out and loaded on the plane.

When I was with Delta, bags were separated into several categories before being loaded. DB, CB, IB, and local.
Domestic bags were bags making connections to domestic flights operated on mainline equipment, CB's were connecting bags be transferred to flights on regional partners like ASA, or Comair. IB's were bags making international connections. Locals were bags terminating at the city the flight was destined to. There were also bags making connections to an entirely different airline, but I've forgotten the abbreviation for those? (They were somewhat rare at my small station)

Once bags were classified, weight and balance had to be calculated for the aircraft. Each bag was assumed/estimated to be 25lbs for calculating purposes. Depending on the load, weight and balance could differ from flight to flight, but ultimately bags were assigned to the proper bin for correct weight and balance for the flight. On the MD-80, there are four bins. 1, 2,3,4. 1 and 2 being accessed by the bin door the closest to the nose. 3 and 4 accessed through the back cargo bin door in the rear. Most often DB and CBs were in 3 and 4 or 3 and 2. Locals and IB's were usually in 1 or 2. However, this could change depending on the total passenger and bag load of a flight. Also, bin 1 and 2 were heated and pressurized. Live animals would go in one of those. Once the plane is loaded and dispatched, the load paperwork would be faxed down-line to the receiving station. It would tell how many of each type bag was on the plane and in which bins. Cargo/mail, live animals, and gate checked bag information for the respective bin would also be included to be sent to the receiving station.





[Edited 2011-01-08 23:07:37]

[Edited 2011-01-08 23:09:01]

User currently offlineAirportugal310 From Tokelau, joined Apr 2004, 3665 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 11831 times:

Quoting c5load (Reply 17):
Indeed! Or having all the damn golf bags and hard cases in the doorway, so they all slide out at you the second you open the door!

 

See my signature, and insert 'golf clubs' where 'chair' is to see how I feel about that...



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19997 posts, RR: 59
Reply 22, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 11787 times:

Quoting planenut767 (Reply 5):
On occasion though the ramp doesn't secure the nets properly and the result is a door that won't open.

Don't the doors open outward? Why would that stop the door from opening?


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17071 posts, RR: 66
Reply 23, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 11759 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 22):
Don't the doors open outward? Why would that stop the door from opening?

IIRC Mad Dogs and DC-9s have inward closing doors and there's a sort of net that ensures bags don't sit on the door.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineyeogeo From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 883 posts, RR: 14
Reply 24, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 11674 times:

Interesting topic!

Quoting PWM2TXLHopper (Reply 20):
When I was with Delta...

Thanks for the instructive, well-illustrated post, PWM!

Do you (anyone?) have experience with bags marked as F or J? (UA inserts a little orange flag at right angles to the tag for these bags). My suspicion has always been that it's just window-dressing for the passenger at check-in. I've never noticed a consistently earlier arrival at the carrousel at final destination. I wonder if the rampers treat these any differently.

yeo



Yokoso! to my world
25 c5load : Those were known as Offline bags, OB.
26 RJLover : Same with the 737s. Around the area where the doors would swing up and open (to lay 'flush' with the celing), there is a whole bunch of netting that,
27 Post contains images KELPkid : Is WN the only airline that will put your bags on an earlier flight for you if you check in super early? That has happened to me more than once, and I
28 Dalmd88 : DL had magic carpets installed in the Song757 the 73NG and the MD88/90. All were removed except for the exSong757. The weight penalty and cost of repa
29 Post contains links rwessel : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2ZeIoLz8FE
30 9VSIO : It does make a difference at the more reputable airlines (SQ, CX etc)!
31 PWMRamper : A bit misleading, that's a front bin used for Gate Check bags. Yeah those bags get offloaded to the carousel first (if the agents do what they are su
32 Post contains images PWM2TXLHopper : Thanks for the clarification.! I never worked 737's, because my station only got MD-88's. However, on occasion passengers would get rebooked on other
33 Post contains links and images PWM2TXLHopper : I've gone and dug up my old ramp training manuals. They might provide some more insite into baggage handling? They are a bit outdated, but I'd imagine
34 Maverick623 : At US, the codes are slightly different. BL are local bags, staying at the destination. BO are online connections (US mainline flights) BE are expres
35 gopal : Thanks PWM, for your detailed explanation of the baggage handling process. It was really illuminating. I was just wondering, since the 767 has a narr
36 AKLRNO : I'm *G and I can't tell you how many times I've had my bag come down with the first few because of the Priority tag. It's great fun when you are stan
37 srbmod : When I worked at AirTran, we had it happen on a regular basis (some of the outstations were notorious for not loading planes correctly). This is why
38 Post contains images B6A322 : Indeed, I saw this last september waiting for my DL737 at PHX. Almost made me miss my 30 minute SLC connection too! As for international, at least on
39 Starlionblue : 767s use the LD2 container, which is smaller. 747s use the LD1, which is larger than LD2 and LD3.
40 PWM2TXLHopper : Sorry that I can't give you an answer to that question. I've only worked with MD-80's.
41 Post contains images cotparampguy : I've had a flight come in from EWR where the bags prevented the door from even unlocking to be opened. We needed MX to come out and go through the ca
42 DocLightning : How long does that take?
43 tristarsteve : Depends on the airline. BA uses LD3 for B744 B767 B777. We only have 250 seats on the B767 and LD3s in the rear hold are sufficient. Fwd hold is rese
44 planenut767 : It'll take a few hours to do that. You need a least two guys to move that row of seats. Make sure you mark where the seats were to make it easier to
45 gopal : This is indeed turning out to be a very informative thread. I am requesting information on how Airlines track these LD1/2/3/8 containers. What kind of
46 Post contains links and images CrimsonNL : This is the forward hold of an ERJ-195 for a certain airline. There were so many net sections that it caused loading delays and the divider between 24
47 wn676 : I'm surprised that an airline would fit that many nets in there...the FWD bin of an A321 is of similar length and we only use two divider nets plus a
48 contrails15 : Didn't happen where I am but one of our down stations I think AUS couldn't get the aft cargo door open because of bags. A/C was a E190. Netting in fr
49 cotparampguy : It took right around 2 and a half hours. The departure was delayed (GDP, whoda thunk it?) so it didn't affect that side as much as it did the poor inb
50 rlrrlrll : When I first started working as a ramper I was astounded at the quality of the bags customers try and use on international flights. They stuff them so
51 contrails15 : Because with most if not all aircraft designs, the cargo hold comes last . Thats what I have learned through the years. I also though put the blame o
52 PWM2TXLHopper : I'm surprised nobody has mentioned bin graffiti! All the planes I ever worked were covered! It was almost like a New York City subway train in the 19
53 PWMRamper : I usually see Line Station ramper complaints, many times warranted. "ORD HANDLES OUT!" "IAD SUCKS AT STACKING!" Stuff like that...
54 contrails15 : The graffiti is a problem I can deal with . Lord knows we have our share. Thats a problem thats hard to get rid of and the last thing mx wants to do
55 wn676 : My personal favorite: "PHL - You reap what you sow...now enjoy this from LAS, a**holes" There are also some personalities from other stations that fi
56 Goldenshield : I know that certain AA planes used to have multi-panel comics featuring Ricky Rock Rat, usually complaining about one thing or another, but with the u
57 HAWK21M : Surprisingly no Bin Markings noticed out here.....
58 pogo : Where I work at LHR the baggage supervisors will do an inventory most if not every day to see how many containers for each airline we have on station
59 Post contains links pogo : http://www.cobaltgs.com/gallery/ There a few pictures here, in the hold of a 737 plus other stuff from the rampers side.
60 contrails15 : LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!! Just saw you wrote that . Every station that handles 190's always bitches about handles not being out and I have seen that now that
61 exFWAOONW : At NW we loaded the narrow-bodies (DC9/MD80) like this: spoke stations would put thru bags (if the flight went beyond the hub) in Bin 1, the local hub
62 Post contains images Starlionblue : Time to bring a permanent marker to work?
63 Post contains images HAWK21M : Don't want to give folks ideas.Especially if I'm going to be responsible regds MEL.
64 Post contains links and images Starlionblue : I just had to post this...
65 Quokka : Hilarious! I did wonder whether a lost bag claim was what prompted the original post but saw the additional bit about priority baggage (which, incide
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