People from aviation: Mihaela Zaroschi - Checkin and boarding agent
Airlines Travel is a site dedicated to aviation, which has emerged from the passion for flights, travel and airplanes. We write about the aviation industry, but also about the people who define aviation.
Commercial aviation comprises many branches with related trades. We do not only refer to flights, pilots and flight attendants. I recently spoke with Mihaela Zaroschi, who is a check-in and boarding agent.
If you flew by plane, you certainly heard about check-in. At low-cost carriers, we choose to check in online to avoid paying extra fees, but we still have to go to the dedicated airport office when we have hold luggage.
Mihaela Zaroschi - Checkin and boarding agent
Mihaela Zaroschi is checkin and boarding agent since May 2015. Her passion for aviation and TAROM led her to dream of a job in the field. But read more in the short interview below!
When she's not at the airport desk, Mihaela shoots planes!
To get acquainted! Are we talking to?
My name is Mihaela Zaroschi, I am from Bucharest, and I work as a check-in agent at TAROM company. I debuted this feature in May 2015. My biggest passion is aviation, and TAROM is the soul company. Whoever says that aviation actually gets into the blood, was right.
Your job does not involve actual flying, but it is very important in commercial aviation. Where did your passion for aviation come from and how did you decide to enter the field?
I chose aviation because I always had a passion for airplanes. The first time I flew the plane, about 17 years ago, I said as I looked out the window of the airport: "I will one day work here, it doesn't matter whether on the ground or in flight, but here is my place".
Then I met people from aviation who encouraged me and made me want more and more a job in the field. So I decided to submit the file to TAROM. I trust myself and what I can do, and today I can say that I am one of the best agents, being able to cope with this job with great care.
What does your job involve and how much of an applicant is it?
My job involves the front desk. I am the first and last filter for checking travel documents. I'm the smiling girl who welcomes passengers before the trip.
Profession checkin and boarding agent is very demanding because everything actually happens against a stopwatch. From the moment we opened the check-in with 2 or even 3 hours before (depending on the time of year) the countdown starts.
I check the validity of the identity papers, visas, travel conditions, take the luggage, label them, keep in touch all the time with the supervisors and the document agents that do the loading on the plane. We have categories of passengers with different needs, such as those with reduced mobility, plus many other situations that we must consider.
With 40 minutes before takeoff time, the check-in is closed and we each leave for the boarding gate of the race where it is planned. There we have a list of passengers on the respective flight, which reaches the handling agent.
And, if all goes well, we begin the embarkation, of course with the master's consent. This is the highlight of the race because we check all the passengers' documents again. Boarding should not take more than 30 minutes. If at the end we don't have missing passengers, we close the door and I can say that it is the perfect boarding.
I know you don't have a fixed schedule. How do you divide yourself between work, private life and family life?
My program is a flexible one, as you anticipated, but also quite demanding. I am a very active man and I like to go out, to travel, to spend time with friends and family.
The work team is from 2 my family. I manage to divide myself between these 2 worlds because I do what I like, and the job is not only a source of income, but also a way in which I feed my passion for aviation, but I also discipline myself. I learned to plan my free time very well and to find a balance between personal life and work.
What are your future professional plans? Do you want to stay in aviation or pursue another job?
My future plans include only aviation trades. I finished school with cabin attendants and I want to practice this job, I want to fly. The field I am working on right now is a launching pad. And I am glad because I can work on the ground, so I can understand the stages of a flight much better.
In your job I suspect there are no monotonous days. Can you tell us how a day at work is going? Have you had ups and downs, pleasant situations and less pleasant ones?
There are no monotonous days, of course. No day resembles another. And that's because we interact with people from all over the world. An ordinary day, although this term does not exist in my job, it goes like this: how do I get my coffee (90% of the "checkinists" are dependent on it), I sign the condo, I take my planning, a station and I enter the counter. And from here you know what's next ...
I have pleasant and unpleasant events almost every day, but I also have a memorable and very funny one. I think it falls into the category of "storytelling for grandchildren". It happened on a Tel Aviv race.
One evening, about 1 year ago, I had a delay of almost 2 hours. The race was full, 220 passengers (still operating with A310). In Tel Aviv, the airport closes at 00: 00. If we could not get the passengers on time for take-off, the flight was canceled and we had to deal with the accommodation of 220 passengers. You don't want to know what that means.
In time, we receive the boarding agreement, but what do you think? About 70 passengers prepared for prayer. To give you an idea of what this means: everyone facing the sun rises and murmurs prayers.
Nobody and nothing can get them out of this state. I am body and soul dedicated to the ritual. We were pressed for time, and the situation was a serious problem, with the risk of delaying the race very much and even canceling it.
Nor could I approve the departure of the plane and leave 70 passengers on the ground. In desperation, I screamed that the plane was leaving, to run away quickly to boarding because it closed the door and they would stay at the airport. To my happiness, I managed to mobilize them and get them on time on the plane. Imagine about 70 of dumbbells running toward boarding.
What advice do you have for those who want to pursue a career in aviation in the check-in area?
First of all, to follow a job that you can practice with passion. The whole operational direction is interesting. An aviation job can mean: checkin, passenger assistance, ramp agent or in-flight trades.
When I got hired, I chose to be assigned to checkin. Being among the first entrants, I was able to choose. I enjoy working with people, even if it is a demanding activity. For those who want to follow the "checkin and boarding agent" profession, I advise them to be patient and to practice it only if they want to work with people and help. This is what we do: HELP.
Many passengers are disoriented, perhaps on their first flight, and we guide them from the moment they arrive at the counter and even board the plane.
In conclusion, I want to add one more thing: aviation is not just a job, but for many it is the 2 house. Aviation gives the feeling!
Passion and ambition, 2 strengths for a fulfilled dream!