How airplanes are turned around in less than 35 minutes

A fascinating video has shed light on how airplanes are turned around in record speed, with everything from refueling to cleaning done in less than 35 minutes. 

North Carolina-based travel expert Jeb Brooks and wife Suzanne went behind the scenes while traveling in Europe with Aegean Airlines to show just what happens as planes are flipped for the next load of passengers. 

In a YouTube video shot at Thessaloniki, ‘the second largest city in Greece,’ Jeb gets access to the luggage loading area.

He explains, while watching bags on their journey: ‘In this rarely seen part… your bags are making their way through this complex baggage belt system to be loaded onto the plane. Even the way they’re loaded is designed to save time and speed up the process on the other end.’ 

North Carolina-based travel expert Jeb Brooks and wife Suzanne went behind the scenes while traveling in Europe with Aegean Airlines

Jeb goes into detail around how planes are prepared when he takes a one-hour flight from Thessaloniki to Rhodes

The globetrotter shows how it takes just 35 minutes to turn a plane around on the runway, thanks to a streamlined and well rehearsed process

He points out that the ground handlers working on the runway to prepare the plane are not employed by Aegean Airlines and they are from an external agency called Goldair

Jeb explains that with each flight, the bags are divided between those that will be unloaded at the next destination and those that will go on to connecting flights. 

This method, he says, ‘makes it a little faster on the other end’ for the new team of baggage handlers. 

Another part of Thessaloniki airport Jeb accessed was a staff briefing room. 

He says before each flight, the crew get together for a briefing about the upcoming journey and ‘during this time they’ll discuss the route, weather and anything else particularly unique about the flight including any special requests or needs from passengers.’

Jeb goes into even more detail around how planes are prepared when he takes a one-hour flight from Thessaloniki to Rhodes. 

He explains after arriving at his next port of call, that the airport on the Greek island gets busiest during the summer and ‘in the peak days’ they can have ‘as many as 300 aircraft movements a day and something like 12,000 departing passengers.’

The globetrotter then shows how it takes just 35 minutes to turn a plane around on the runway, thanks to a streamlined and well-rehearsed process. 

He points out that the ground handlers and the staff working on the runway to prepare the plane are not employed by Aegean Airlines and they are from an external agency called Goldair.  

Jeb explains that with each flight, the bags are divided between those that will be unloaded at the next destination and those that will go on to connecting flights

Before each flight, the crew get together for a briefing about the upcoming journey and ‘during this time they’ll discuss the route, weather and anything else particularly unique’

As the timer continues to count down, the ‘pilots complete a safety check, catering gets loaded, the plane takes on fuel and the outbound bags come next’

He says, while watching on from the sidelines in a high visibility jacket: ‘I’m not sure I’ve ever been quite as impressed as I was watching the Goldair team prepare these airplanes for their next trip.

‘It’s truly incredible to see the efficiency with which these ground handlers are unloading this [Airbus] A320neo and getting it ready to head back out.

‘From the moment that your plane pulls up to the gate, Aegean and their partners at Goldair have only 35 minutes to get it going on to its next destination.’

Jeb then runs through each part of the airplane’s turnaround. 

He explains: ‘First, stairs are pulled up to the plane and passengers begin disembarking. They’re met by waiting buses. 

‘Meanwhile, arriving bags are offloaded, the outbound bags get staged, the plane gets cleaned and trash is removed.’

While the Goldair team continue to work below the wing, 180 passengers begin boarding

In terms of his flight with Aegean Airlines, Jeb seemed thoroughly impressed. He booked business class seats with the perks including more leg room

Jeb’s business class tickets came with free multi-course meals 

Next up, as the timer continues to count down, the ‘pilots complete a safety check, catering gets loaded, the plane takes on fuel and the outbound bags come next.’

While the Goldair team continue to work below the wing, 180 passengers begin boarding and once that’s done, ‘the main cabin door is closed the stairs are pulled away and they’re off to Athens.’

After watching the airplane turnaround from start to finish, Jeb praised the impressive production.

‘You’ll be amazed at the symphony that happens before, between and after every flight every single day,’ he concluded.

In terms of his flight with Aegean Airlines, Jeb seemed thoroughly impressed. 

He booked business class seats with the perks including an expedited check in, more leg room on the plane, pre-departure beverages in ‘actual glasses,’ and multi-course meals.

Greece

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