Big Metal Bird Episode 11: Interesting Jobs


When you think airline jobs, you probably think pilots, flight attendants, or, mechanics. Hey Bill! Hey Phil! But at United, that’s just the beginning. Today we’re learning about some of the jobs at United that just might surprise you, and why I’m wearing this styling jumpsuit, on this episode of Big Metal Bird. Ugh. Looks like a storm’s coming. I wonder if that’s going to affect my flight? There’s a storm coming. This is going to affect Phil’s flight. We should let him know. ♪ Storyteller ♪ So what is a United storyteller? Storytellers are a team located here in our Network Operations Center. And what we’re doing is actually texting our customers in real time, what’s going on and why flights are delayed. Whether it’s weather delays, or mechanical. The team was formed because we wanted to explain exactly what was going on to make things a little bit easier to digest for the customer. Customers on flights delayed over sixty minutes will receive handcrafted communication from our team. Through text, email, or through the United app. We’re not only telling customers why their flight is delayed, but we’re letting them know that there’s traffic on the way to the airport, and that maybe they should take the local train instead. I’ll be checking my text messages. I’ll be like, “Hey, Brian! Thanks for letting me know!” That’s going to be me. ♪ Seat Guru ♪ So let me get this straight. Your job, is to know everything there is to know about United seats. Yes. Everything? Everything. Okay, well, what fabric are the seat cushions in United Polaris? It’s a wool poly blend. And what thread do they use in the new United Premium Plus seats? So it’s not a thread, it’s a polyurethane. What is the biggest innovation in seats these days? We have taken the literature pockets, that usually sits down below the knee area, taken that and moved it up above the tray table. Gives the customers back about an inch or so of space. You know, the thing that I do is, try to give every inch back to the passenger that I can. And how do you keep the kid behind you from kicking your seat? I’m a big fan of this. But really, we are working to build stronger seat backs, to create more of a barrier between you and the person behind you. Well, you know, I thought a Seat Guru would know a lot about seats, but you’re really on top of it. ♪ Crew Puzzler ♪ Flying forty-five hundred flights a day to hundreds of destinations takes thousands of flight attendants. So how do you make sure all those flight attendants end up where they need to be? One flight delay in Los Angeles can completely delay a flight that is leaving out of Newark. We have flight attendants that are not going to make their next flight. So, what do I have to do? I have to find a new flight attendant for you. Delays can cause these ripple effects. It’s like a math problem. How do we schedule twenty flight attendants on to a hundred trips, with just a three-hour window? And one flight needs someone who speaks Mandarin. It’s my job to make sure that happens. So sometimes, San Francisco needs to send people to help out LA, sometimes vice versa, and sometimes people in San Francisco will need to help people all the way in Newark. Any given day, it can range from fifty to two hundred and fifty calls per day. Per scheduler, I am a Master at puzzling. ♪ Medical Chief ♪ Can I call you Dr. Pats? You can if you’d like, I am a trained Physician Assistant with specialty in Aviation Medicine. It’s my job to ensure that people on the ground and in the air, are handled properly. Not just for our passengers, but for our pilots, to the flight attendants to the ramp agents, to a mechanic. I also look at the medical kits on-board, to make sure that every plane is equipped with the proper equipment. United Airlines is one of the few companies that still has a medical department and a Corporate Medical Director. I consider our program one of the best. Well a lot of people don’t realize that certain medical conditions can affect people differently at thirty thousand feet. We were the first airline to develop a first response kit. My medical team has saved lives, both on the ground and in the air. So, you don’t actually see patients? No, I monitor patients in the air, and I consult with patients on the ground, but this isn’t a doctor’s office. And, you didn’t have to wear those scrubs. Yeah, I uh, figured that out. ♪ Fuel Tank Diver ♪ United Airlines uses a lot of jet fuel every day. Making sure that a plane’s fuel tanks and systems are reliable and safe is not just an important job, it’s a massive undertake. So, United’s tank divers go where no one has gone before. Cleaning and fixing the tanks so they’re always in perfect shape. You go right inside this? Yeah, all the time. What we do in the tank is we go in to perform inspection, we replaced fuel system components, and also, repair a fuel leaks. My favorite part of the job is our teamwork, the camaraderie, we troubleshoot together. We get to see parts of the airplane that most people never get to see. We’re a special group because we have to have all these prerequisite qualifications to be able to perform in a confined space entry. So, we have to be full-face qualified, respirator-qualified and we have to be CPR-qualified. I love the smell of jet fuel. It’s just like my cologne. So this is the tank simulator, can I go inside? Yeah, you want to try? Yeah! Whoa! Okay, okay, whew! It’s alright, you can do it! It just goes to show, United has a lot more jobs out there than you might think. You just have to be able to fit in. Can I get a little help out here? ♪♪ Look at me! I’m flying! Am I a plane right now?

12 thoughts on “Big Metal Bird Episode 11: Interesting Jobs

  1. Oh please. United airlines along with American are the worst and most indifferent to their customers out of all the airlines I have flown with.

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