Hey, everyone—please allow me to introduce myself! My name is Aaron, and I work as a Field Tech in our Technical Services department out of Chicago’s close and convenient Midway Airport.
All of our Field Techs are based out of multiple locations which allows us to fly to each city operated by Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways. In addition to MDW, we have Tech Shops in DAL, BWI, ATL, SLC, and PHX. Collectively, we work to accomplish a lot of projects, new city openings, and general break fixes.
During the first and second quarter of this year, our Team has been working on a fairly large project in each city. For those of you who fly with us often, you’re probably familiar with theDING! sound when you hand the OPS Agent your boarding card prior to boarding. We are replacing those DINGs (well, sort of … maybe not). We’re just replacing the computers the Ops Agents use which controls that DING! Just like your phone, our computers need some LUV and upgrades! That sound comes from what we call a “Gatereader.” The Gatereader is comprised of many devices including computers, a printer, and a monitor.
To accomplish this project, we communicate with each city and let them know what’s in store and what they can expect once we finish the project. Each Tech Shop schedules the install project and ensures that all required equipment is on-site and ready to go when the date comes to begin the new install.
We begin the install by taking out all of the old equipment inside the Gatereader. Notice how after time, things get messy and dirty. That’s four years of use! Next, we clean, vacuum, and wipe down the inside of the Gatereader. We don’t want to install new equipment in a dirty environment!
After cleaning, we screw in cable management devices. Ready to know what the device is? Wait for it … wait for it … Velcro and screws! This helps keep power and network cables out of the way and makes the inside of the Gatereader look clean. In addition, we install a new printer and monitor.
Finally, we install two new computers. One computer controls the boarding groups you see when you board. You know, A 1-30, A 31-60, etc. The other computer is what the Ops Agent uses and controls the DING! sound letting you know your boarding pass has been scanned and you are officially noted as being on the aircraft! By the way, these two computers talk to each other. With one click of the mouse, the Ops Agent can change those boarding groups from A to B to C! How cool is that?
When all is said and done, the Gatereader looks like new. Everything is neat and clean and ready for use!
The next time you’re out traveling around our system, you may see one of us giving our equipment some TLC!