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Kelu Togi Vaoga

Baggage Handler

Our job as Air New Zealanders in Baggage is to make sure that we do everything possible to have our passengers’ luggage on the journey with them.

We load passenger luggage into containers and onto trolleys in preparation for their international departures as well as unload the baggage from international arriving flights.

It’s the people, not many people can go to work and say its fun; it’s like we’re just one big family. We all look after each other, which helps as there are new and different challenges every day.

Where did your journey start?

I started as a Casual Worker Aircraft Cleaner. Casuals are called on when we are short of manpower.

Where’s your journey taken you so far within Air New Zealand?

A few months later I made the move to Baggage working in the arrivals area unloading international inbound flights. I learnt a few skills along the way and started working in the departures area. Once I got the hang of things, I further educated myself in Baggage and became a Foreman/Turn Coordinator and now I am one of the senior staff members.

Where do you hope your journey will take you?

I’m comfortable at the moment in what I’m doing. However I do still feel there is a lot for me to learn and understand. After I gain a bit more experience of the work place and understand the business side of things, I hope one day I can work my up the ranks and become “the big boss”.

What Air New Zealand value do you feel you best represent and why?

“CAN DO ATTITUDE”

We push ourselves to be the best; we go the extra mile and beyond the call of duty every day. We strive to make each flight and push beyond any obstacles put in front of us to meet customer satisfaction and also on-time performance.

It’s the satisfaction of passengers getting to their final destination on time and with their entire luggage on the other end of their journey. It’s a personal satisfaction, playing a small part in a bigger picture, knowing I do my bit to keep our customers happy and coming back.

What’s the best story you’ve been able to tell after a day at work?

My first time loading a flight, I can remember it like it was yesterday. Everybody remembers their first flight, especially if it’s a big one. It was NZ49, a wide body aircraft and there were four big containers.

I didn’t know what to expect. I was standing there and at the start of the flight it was slow. I remember thinking “man this is easy”. But not too long after that, bags started shooting down the carousal one after the other in quick succession, I stood there frozen as to how fast and how many bags were coming down the system.

I looked around to see if anyone was watching and then tried to clear the carousal but I could not keep up, then I heard a voice yelling from the end of the carousal. One of my colleagues said “hey, you want some concrete pills to harden up!” and just started laughing. I giggled a bit and watched him walk away, then a few seconds after that I saw him again at the end of the carousal clearing the back half as I cleared the front. Then I heard him yell again calling out “PARTY at carousal four” and the next thing I knew, four to five guys had come to my aid knowing it was my first flight.

They assisted me in clearing my carousal all the while laughing and teasing each other about their first flight, kind of their way of letting me know I was not the only one. From then every time someone was behind or could not keep up people would yell out “PARTY on carousal…”

Every time I hear that, I laugh to myself knowing that had happened to me but everyone knew to go to whatever carousal and help out until they we are back on track.

It’s a story I tell the new guys, so they don’t feel the pressure and know that you have a team that will look after you if you ever get stuck. It happens to the best of us.

It’s a story I tell new guys so they don’t feel the pressure and know that you have a team that will look after you if you ever get stuck. It happens to the best of us.

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