Tips from the Line

FLYMcDoofer

New Member
This one is mainly for corporate and fractional type pilots but all transients might find this of use.

I have been working as a lineman for roughly a year now and have a few things to say after totally getting screwed out of a nice tip and at the least a thank-you.

Today we worked a very large corporate outing that utilized several large biz a/c. It ran as smooth as possible except for one minor catering problem which the caterer was at fault for anyways. Did we make a dime? Not hardly. I got a few crumpled dollars thrown my way. The killer to me was...did we get a thank you. I surely didn't hear one. This is not to sound greedy (we did get a nice breakfast spread from leftovers when they arrived!) but is to say sometimes no matter how cheap you are or want to be, a tip is due. Not just flying though. Believe it or not we remember. Jip us out and next time you might find your fuel gets there a little slower.

Tips aren't my big thing though. (Don't really get enough in tips anyways to make a big deal of it. I just hope to be able to cover dinner from time to time.) A good attitude GOES A LONG WAY.

You might be having a bad day cause company is sending you back out. Don't take it out on the lineman by being a jerk. Seen it too much. I understand most of you are not rich by any stretch of the imagination so I dont expect tips from frac guys but sometimes a good attitude will go a lot farther than a $5 or $20. Be nice and treat us as humans and you too might find your fueling or lav done before the next guy.

My point being for this rant. If the FBO goes above and beyond or does a good job at the least say thanks or throw a little change. Above all though have a good attitude. I promise it will have good results.
In my opinion the best fracs to deal with:
1. NetJets (they seem to realize that the line guys are humans too!)
2. Flight Options (For some reason seem nice and laid back)
3. Flexjet (For the most part good people but some think their Lr-55 is the best A/C in the universe.
4. Citation Shares (They get annoying QUICK.)
 

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
Good to see a fellow lineman laying it down on JC. I work on the line at a major chain FBO and agree for the most part with your ranking of the fractionals. NetJets guys just seem to be the most organized and friendly. However, I might put flex jets above flight options. I've heard flight options guys at the counter saying "If we were netjets we wouldn't get treated this way!". What a load of BS. As line service techs we give everyone exactly the same service and preform services in the order in which they are called in!

The one thing annoying about FlexJets is that they have a tendency to try and taxi out without telling anyone (they get in their planes very stealthily it seems), with a GPU still attatched, and with their chocks still in place. So someone has to run out there frantically and kick out the chocks and disconnect the GPU before they start dragging it down the taxiway. Luckily we don't get too many Citation Shares aircraft, I think our competitor may have their contract.

As far as tips, I never expect a tip (in fact, we've been told that we are not allowed to accept tips unless the customer insists, but if they offer it in the first place they're usually going to insist. I usually only say "I'm not allowed to accept tips" if I see a person digging through their wallet like they can't find a small enough bill or if I hear them arguing over who is going to pay the tip). That said, Netjets and FlexJets almost always tip for lav service, which is nice. A simple thank you or just a good attitude and minimal grumpiness is almost as good as a tip though. In the end, line service techs are probably just maggots in the minds of a lot of pilots, but as someone who sees the line from both sides routinely I do my best to help out the pilots when I'm working the line and do my best to help out the line techs when I'm flying.

The one thing I dislike the most about being a line service tech is stacking hangars. I was involved in a towing incident (as a wing walker) on my 6th day at this job. The guy who I was wing-walking for lost his job over the incident. Not a day goes by when I don't think about that split second when I wasn't watching the right spot on an airplane. I still have 10 days to go before I get my signoff to start operating the tugs myself, and am not particularly looking forward to it. At my FBO we are responsible for storing about 125-150 aircraft in hangars and it's difficult to maintain absolute vigilance everytime you're towing an airplane. A split second lapse of concentration can cost the company tens of thousands and cost you or a friend their job.

Overall I enjoy working as a line service tech, but am still looking forward to the day when I can resign for a job in the seat of an airplane.
 

giants_fan

New Member
I know many airline pilots who started as linemen.

Go to AirTran.com and look under About Us>Employment.
You'll see this picture.


The young guy in the captain suit used to be a lineman in central FL.

He's a B717 (the Sissy Whisperjet) captain.
 

NJA_Capt

Well-Known Member
FLYMcDoofer, Alchemy,
Excellent post you guys! As a former 6 ½ year ramper myself, I salute you. Many pilots these days do not have the background to understand the ground ops side of this business. Seeing things from both sides has definitely helped me along. Of course it makes you less tolerant of some of the "less than stellar" line guys at times too.

I am proud to see NetJets pilots held in such regard. We do our best to insure the tipping custom. Sometimes, lineguys bring supplies to the plane and before I can offer a tip he/she has already turned and headed to another job. Not that you should stand there with your hand out or anything, but do not run away too soon.
I have been turned down many times for offering tips too. Pretty bad when you cannot even GIVE money away

We are allowed to expense tips but only to a certain amount, without a receipt. If you carry a few business cards in your pocket, we will ask you to sign one so we can turn it in. This little trick can quadruple a tip. Do not offer the business card yourself, but definitely have one if we ask.. Heck, I have gone in the FBO to get one myself in order to tip someone.

Here are some "Tip Killers."
-Staying in the van while the customers load/unload their own bags, or open/shut the van door.
-CSRs that do not have enough change to give us $1s and $5s. (Sometimes guys that normally tip consistently, cannot because we could not get change, or to an ATM yet.)
-Slow response (when the ramp is NOT busy).

From all of us that sit down to work, THANK YOU.
 

FL717

New Member
ok, who is posting my pic all over the web...


Chris


[ QUOTE ]
I know many airline pilots who started as linemen.

Go to AirTran.com and look under About Us>Employment.
You'll see this picture.


The young guy in the captain suit used to be a lineman in central FL.

He's a B717 (the Sissy Whisperjet) captain.

[/ QUOTE ]
 

FLYMcDoofer

New Member
To me this is what makes NetJets guys so easy to deal with.

When they come in they will usually advise if they are empty or pax and what they need. Unless they are RON they will take fuel. Its that simple.

When NetJets guys have requested a Lav, an oil change, or a vaccum after a messy flight they usually tip. The catering is handled through a NetJets contract trained guy so its not really our worry. The A/C are all pretty easy to fuel and tow.
Another advantage with them is a soon as you hear the tail #s on unicom you can tell what kind it is. You can plan the ramp sequence or the fueling procedures with co-workers.

The only times they really seem anal is when the owner is still around (can't blame them, they need to make sure the owner gets taken care of) and when they are having a bad day (hey we all have them!). Most of the time they are happy to show off the A/C, shoot the $hi^, or stick to themselves.
 

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
One other thing I appreciate as a line guy is when pilots "teach" me how to service their aircraft, rather than just trying to do something themselves if I don't know how to do it. Sure, if you're flying a common aircraft like a Falcon, Citation, Lear, Challenger or Gulfstream you can expect me to know how to fuel and empty the lavs on your plane. I will need a little more gluidance if you come in on an uncommon type (sabreliners, convairs, westwinds, etc). We see hundreds of different aircraft every week so it's quite difficult to stay on top of each and every little eccentricity of every aircraft. Sometimes pilots seem offended if I'm not familiar with the way their lav works, or not familiar with their fuel control panel, etc. It's really nothing personal, just show us how to do it so we can get things done for you more effeciently next time!!! Also, do not be afraid of "offending" us by telling us something about your aircraft. I've had pilots who thought I would be insulted because they were "telling me how to do my job". I'd rather you give me a thousand instructions than allow me to make one mistake by assuming I know something which I might not. Remember that a lot of us are relatvely new and not "lifers" in this profession. In addition, when things get busy it is not always possible to have a more experienced person watching our every move.

Also I wish more of you guys could get your lavs working properly. Is it just me or do about about 30% of all aircraft have problems accepting a refill of blue juice from an external pump? I guess that's the one area of the aircraft mechanics really hate to work on.
 

NJA_Capt

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Also I wish more of you guys could get your lavs working properly. Is it just me or do about about 30% of all aircraft have problems accepting a refill of blue juice from an external pump?

[/ QUOTE ]

You can say that again. I was beginning to think it was just me. Believe me, we wish the external coupling would work too. I have heard explanations like it freezing at high altitude, and "remnants" clogging a sensor and not opening the intake valve. I don't remember airliners having trouble accepting fluid.
 

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
Airliners have the same problem. We had a Miami Air 727 last week and we couldn't refill the forward lav. Figuring it was frozen, we waited about 12 hours and tried again. Still no luck. I have no idea why these things become broken. Like you said, maybe they get clogged by "Globs of Sh*t" as one pilot so eloquently put it.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
One other thing I appreciate as a line guy is when pilots "teach" me how to service their aircraft, rather than just trying to do something themselves if I don't know how to do it. ...................... I will need a little more gluidance if you come in on an uncommon type (sabreliners, convairs, westwinds, etc).

[/ QUOTE ]

Always good of crews to know to help the linemen a bit. But some of the crews don't know much about the servicing of their own aircraft from my experiences.

Funny you mention the Sabreliner. It's one of those odd types. You have to disengage the nose strut from the oleo via a pin in order to tow the aircraft. Afterwards, you must re-engage the pin in order for the crew to have nosewheel steering.
 

C650CPT

Well-Known Member
Something I religously do is call 20 min out with my tail #, my type, what services if any are required and confirmation of Passengers waiting or if there is a rental car to be picked up. I have had very good luck with this practice, exspecially on quick turns. The other thing and I'm sure this is hard for the line guys (or girls
... Flower Aviation! ) is to know when I want thier help and when I'd rather they hang back untill I get the principles out of the AO before serviceing the jet. As a rule I would say don't bother the pilots with servicing questions unless they have indicated a quick turn. Usually as I am unloading the pax's and walking them in is where I am get the answers to the questions of Where are we going next and When are we leaving. I generally tip except when I am flying a Military flight and I am in uniform.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Wow Chris you are famous!

[ QUOTE ]
I know many airline pilots who started as linemen.

Go to AirTran.com and look under About Us>Employment.
You'll see this picture.


The young guy in the captain suit used to be a lineman in central FL.

He's a B717 (the Sissy Whisperjet) captain.

[/ QUOTE ]
 

giants_fan

New Member
I hear anyone with grey hair at Airtran is automatically assumed to be ex-Eastern - and not the good kind either.
 
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