View Full Version : A day in the life.

2011-Sep-28, 07:04 PM
No idea if you'll find this funny, but it cant hurt anyone posting it can it. Besides, if you know me you know I like posting my experiences :)

I am currently a senior software Engineer working on the design and the commissioning of airport systems. A well paid and enjoyable job.

I though you may be interested in what I consider a typical day. So I'll post an extract from my company daily report from one day last week where I had to install my software at Gatwick Airport Check ins while passengers were standing waiting.


Doug agreed the install with Gatwick Airport for zone H Check ins was to be carried out at 16:00.

Set myself up on Check in zone F Ethernet connection at 15:00 only to get a phone call from Paul at 15:10 telling me the plough was down, Paul was off duty and the MBO called the wrong person. Unfortunately I am not god and can only be in one place at one time. Luckily for me and with great insight Doug was already on the scene. Doug called me and I helped him through the reset and restart procedure for an overload fault over the phone whilst at the same time also responding to several phone calls from Gatwick Engineering asking why I was not there and why is it not running yet, also informing me that check ins were now in die back on the zone D Line and passengers were getting angry. Liaising with Doug I eventually got the SBO to restart the line.

Before shutting the check in line down I decided to check that they were in fact closed. I went to the zone H line at 15:30 only to find about 100 passengers checking in. Asked Easy Jet Duty Manager if he knew what was about to happen, he had no idea. There followed a three way conversation between myself/MBO/Easy Jet duty manager. All eventually agreed we could do the job at 16:00 as arranged.

Easy Jet pulled 10 check in girls from the desks in 10 minutes and sent 100 bemused passengers elsewhere. Emirates girls were appearing on the desks adjacent ready to check in passengers at 16:15 and a queue of expectant passengers were building up. An Easy Jet girl asked what was going on, I told her a software upgrade. “What like a windows update”, she asked. “Yes, except this one should work”, I replied hopefully.

Between 16:00 and 16:15 I managed to get SBO to shut the whole of the check ins down/Uploaded the new software and managed to get a re-start from SBO. Checking the desks proved difficult as I suddenly realised I could not use test bins any more (despatch conveyor is too long, I couldn't reach that far without setting off the security breech alarm). I hurriedly grabbed a damp mop from a passing cleaner and used it to simulate a bag arriving at the photocell of the despatch conveyor by lying on the check in desk conveyor and jabbing the mop through the hole in the back wall.

As I completed testing, sweating and under obvious stress I turned around with my damp mop in hand to see a first class passenger waiting to check in at the Emirates desk. He had been waiting all the time with about 50 other passengers. His hands were folded. Looking at me with disdain he shook his head in a derogatory fashion and curled his lip slightly, I was obviously the man holding him up. I could almost hear the words being formed in his subconscious mind “You Idiot”. He thought I was a cleaner !!

With this vision in my head I came up with the only retort I could in the circumstances. “All part of the Emirates service sir, nothing like a clean conveyor, wouldn’t want to get your bags dirty now would we”. It worked, he smiled. Emirates check in girls rolled their eyes for some strange reason.

Handed back check ins to MBO at 16:15 and my first class passenger friend was sent on his way almost immediately.

Packed stuff up once check ins were up and running and dashed down to meet a calm and relaxed Tim who was waiting for me at security and already on the phone asking “Where the hell are you” as I walked around the corner in full sight of him to do the software changes on the dodgy plough.

Pressure, Bah, what pressure ?

2011-Sep-28, 08:19 PM

2011-Sep-28, 08:47 PM
No, its the piece of equipment that destroys your luggage when it goes wrong, or should I say when my software goes wrong.

This is what remained of a priority passengers expensive hard aluminium case when it did go wrong once.

Note the orange priority tag and the rather nice bra.



I know I shouldn't but I still laugh when I see these pictures.

2011-Sep-28, 09:09 PM
I know I shouldn't but I still laugh when I see these pictures.
I might be laughing if I was in your position, but it is one of the things that makes me dread air travel.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm kind of amazed that you would do software upgrades on such systems at 4 in the afternoon at a busy airport, and not 2 a.m. or so.

2011-Sep-28, 09:33 PM
Yes I was kind of amazed at that as well at first, the software was tested so it should have been fine. The justification for doing it mid afternoon was that by far the busiest time was from 3:00am to 6:00am where up to 3,000 passengers are checking in. If I did it during the night then the first time it was used would be at 3 in the morning, if it went wrong then it would cause major disruption.

Doing it at 16:00 was actually liable to cause less disruption as passenger numbers were low (several hundred) and I could quickly revert if there were problems.

I better not post some of my other photos of destroyed baggage then if it gives you that reaction swift :)

To be fair to the airports, if the bag does get destroyed they do pick up the contents they can find and put them in a big clear plastic bag and put your tag on it before they put it on the plane. The first you know about it is at the carousel at arrivals, so your long gone and will never find me.