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Old 07-04-2007, 10:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
AnotherPilot
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Default My advice: Respect the line guys

I work at a big FBO and last week we were 15 minutes late ramping a challenger. I was standing by in a fuel truck and the pilot walks up to my supervisor who was parking it and says "This is for all of you! Seven o'clock means seven o'clock!" And says his owner will be here in 15 minutes. I was standing by in a fuel truck and he proceeds to stare me down in the truck and yells "You hear me?! Seven o'clock means seven o'clock!" In a very threatening way, and then just stares for a while.

First of all he obviously didn't plan enough time even if we were late. And I had nothing to do with our being late.

Secondly, line guys remember this stuff! This guy's demeanor was that he was ready to throw it down if we talked back. I was so mad I was about to walk away and tell him to fuel his own airplane. I will never help with his coffee, ice, or papers again. I couldn't care less, he can get it himself. That pilot can learn how to communicate properly the hard way.

Seriously there are better ways to go about this stuff. Line guys remember the condescending customers are and they don't get the same service. What goes around comes around and you'll really shoot yourself in the foot.
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Old 07-04-2007, 01:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I had a guy pull that on me once. Funny thing was the PTO was suddenly stuck in low speed and the Lav cart magically broke. He should have thought of all of this while the plane sat on our ramp for two days prior.

I never had a problem going out of the way for a friendly crew. By friendly all it usually took was a quick thanks. There's nothing I hated more than a jerk pilot.
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Old 07-04-2007, 08:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Having worked line for a couple summers now, I totally agree with what you're saying! Being courteous can actually save the company money, too. At the very least, it could mean the difference of having to pay a handling fee or not. I always try to provide the highest level of service that I can, no matter what I'm paid or who I'm dealing with. But like you said, if someone's a jacka**, I usually am busy with someone else if they need anything.
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Old 07-04-2007, 08:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thats like a cardinal rule ,, never pi$$ off the line guys.
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Old 07-05-2007, 04:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm one of the friendlist pilots I know to line service.......because I used to BE lineservice. I know for a fact that I've gotten preferential treatment from many places just because I smile and go out of my way to say thanks.

Even if I'm Pi$$ed off about poor service (admit it - it happens at some places), I approach the situation from a different angle that keeps everyone diffused and on friendly terms.
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Old 07-05-2007, 05:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Having worked the line in a previous life, I also know that there are some folks that are simply jerks in any situation... However, there are times when I too have been frustrated with FBO's that don't meet our requested pullout times or service requests when plenty of time has been given.

This pilot was out of line, but perhaps the FBO also needs to evaluate why the aircraft pullout was late? In my normal course, for overnights I'll request pullout 1 hr prior to our scheduled departure. I'll usually also call the FBO on the way to the airport to remind them that we are on the way.

On the occassion, the plane hasn't been brought up on time, and it can put quite a strain on the timeline- particularly when we get the phone call from our passengers saying that they're running 15 minutes early.

I guess the thing that bothers me is the comment "First of all he obviously didn't plan enough time even if we were late." I don't plan for FBO's running late. An FBO that "runs late" more than once, usually isn't one that gets repeat business.

That said, the manner/tone that he took with the line service guys isn't exactly the best way to motivate the line staff. I've always found it better to let them know you're up against a time crunch and need their help getting services quickly...
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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[quote=FlyerJosh;190578]Having worked the line in a previous life, I also know that there are some folks that are simply jerks in any situation... However, there are times when I too have been frustrated with FBO's that don't meet our requested pullout times or service requests when plenty of time has been given.

This pilot was out of line, but perhaps the FBO also needs to evaluate why the aircraft pullout was late? In my normal course, for overnights I'll request pullout 1 hr prior to our scheduled departure. I'll usually also call the FBO on the way to the airport to remind them that we are on the way.

On the occassion, the plane hasn't been brought up on time, and it can put quite a strain on the timeline- particularly when we get the phone call from our passengers saying that they're running 15 minutes early.

You just saved me a lot of typing! I agree that this pilot was off base with his attitude, but with the rediculous rates that we pay for handling / parking fees, I expect that I will have what I need at the time that I requested it. 15 minutes late is simply unacceptable, 5 minutes and the aircraft is already in tow I can understand. (although I am still not happy about it) To many times I have been to FBO's, and had to wait around for papers, ice, etc, and the attitude of the line guys when I kindly remind them that I need them is in the nieghborhood of a dirty look and an "I know, I'll get it". I think that I have a right to be upset, although I will bring it to the attention of the FBO supervisor instead of the guy on the line, and have a lot more tact than that pilot.
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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A few things from my point of view:


"rediculous rates that we pay for handling / parking fees"

We don't have ramp fees or handling fees.

"the FBO also needs to evaluate why the aircraft pullout was late"

I agree here, it was my supervisor's fault 100% and he deserved to be talked to, but not everyone else trying to help the plane. And not in a condescending manner.

"let them know you're up against a time crunch and need their help getting services quickly"

This always works with me. If your passengers are early it's not the fault of the line guys, but let them know and they can help. If you feel you have the right to be upset that's fine. The line cares about doing a good job but be careful how you go about it or, like I said earlier, you'll shoot yourself in the foot.
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Old 07-05-2007, 12:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The one I worked at had a ramp fee. The reason for this was simple: Contract Fuel. Many operators are looking for a way to decrease costs (naturally) and contract fuel has a lot to do with this. Colt, Mariah, Western Petroleum, etc are great tools. However in recent years FBOs have had to decrease their into-plane rates. Some contract providers are only paying 10 cents per gallon for into plane rates. This proves to be an interesting problem. Get rid of the contract fuel, and loose business, or charge a fee.
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherPilot View Post
Line guys remember the condescending customers are and they don't get the same service. What goes around comes around and you'll really shoot yourself in the foot.
I agree he should have handled it different, but keep in mind what you said works both ways. When service at an FBO gets poor, the first thing pilots will do is start buying fuel (or as much as possible) somewhere else. The FBO loses nothing if you don't get his coffee and ice, but it loses a lot when you don't sell fuel.

Many of us former ramp rats know all about the PTOs and lav cart "problems."
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