Behind the counter: What it’s like to work as All Nippon Airways ground staff

By Ingrid Tsai, SoraNews24

When it comes to the diverse array of individuals who support the logistics of air travel, cabin attendants and airport ground staff perform a lot of duties to ensure travelers are ready and comfortable for their flight. While the latter usually go unappreciated or unnoticed, All Nippon Airways, or ANA, is changing that with a recently released video depicting how a work day goes for their ground staff.


For this exclusive video, a young woman named Arafune takes us through her day as one of ANA’s ground staff members at Haneda Airport. Arafune’s day typically starts at 5 a.m in order to make it to work by 7 a.m. However, sometimes she has woken up as early as 4 a.m. to get to work, especially if there’s something special going on at Haneda Airport.

After arriving at work, the first thing to do is to change into her uniform. Women ground staff members are allowed two choices in uniform: pants or skirt. While Arafune chooses the skirt version of the uniform for today, she also enthusiastically shows off the pants version.


Next is a small debrief which contains details about the day’s workflow, flights, and pressing administrative tasks. The debrief ends with a re-affirmation of ANA’s Way, or basically five tenets delineating the airline’s customer service philosophy and mission. Afterwards, it’s time for Arafune’s first block of her schedule: working at one of the airline’s multiple check-in counters.

From counters providing expedited check-in to counters dealing with special baggage, ANA ground staff rotate between different services, and until 9 a.m, Arafune is assigned to one of the airport’s general check-in counters. Her tasks involve scanning passports and distributing boarding passes, and of course, she strives to do all this with a cheery expression on her face while maintaining eye contact with customers.


What follows counter work is a one-hour lunch break. For today’s lunch, Arafune has homemade salad and onigiri. While she personally brings her own lunch to work, Arafune mentions the variety of restaurants at the airport where ground staff can choose to spend their break.


When Arafune is done eating, she moves on to the next part of the day: boarding folks onto their flight. While the roles ground staff have for the boarding gate differ, Arafune’s main job is to coordinate the boarding logistics and ground staff for a flight to Hiroshima. There is a small briefing beforehand on the number of passengers, whether or not infants will be on board, and any special accommodations necessary. Since today’s gate is deeper within the airport, Arafune goes out of her way as well to guide fliers with a handy tablet displaying the flight number and destination.


Once everyone is boarded and ready for takeoff, Arafune wraps up the last hour of her work day in the airport office. Besides the very familiar task of replying to emails, she reviews the day’s reports and confirms that passengers have transferred onto their next respective flights, and when the clock hits 3:00 p.m, Arufune is done for the day.

▼ On the other hand, here’s a video showing a sneak peek in the work day of a flight attendant.

It’s always fascinating to see what goes on behind the scenes, whether it’s at a factory where in-flight meals are made or even a ramen restaurant, but videos like these definitely help to inform the general public as to what roles airport staff play and also deepen our already steadfast appreciation of those who make our travels smooth and safe.

Source, images: YouTube/BLUE SKY NEWS

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japan Airlines abolishes use of “ladies and gentlemen” in English for sake of sexual minorities

-- Exclusive piping hot baumkuchen at Haneda Airport is the delicious treat all travelers must try

-- Camera effects turn Haneda Airport into a cute toy-like playground【Video】

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I'm personally a fan of JAL.

ANA staff have not been good or friendly (in my personal experience)

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I have been an ANA convert since 2012. Great staff, great Mileage programme and a stupendous new First Class that I got to fly a few times after they launched it in 2019....then COVID hit.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I was an ardent ANA junkie, then started paying an extra 1000 yen to get a better seat on JAL domestic flights. Although JAL's and ANA's first and business are comparable to each other.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

One of my cousins is a trainer manager something at Haneda. Watched both videos on the odd chance I could see her in the background of the offices, but everyone’s wearing a mask so it’s pretty difficult LOL, anyway interesting

0 ( +1 / -1 )

ANA is fairly good. The only complaint I have with ANA is with their mileage rewards program in that after three years; regardless of activity or inactivity, your mileage points will expire. I can agree if you didn't accrue any points/mileage within three years that you loose what was earned, but this forces you into being some type of devout flight-junkie to earn enough mileage to upgrade.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Since many years all my business trips are mainly ANA or sometimes Lufthansa.

Depend upon where I am going to.

A few cases I used Emirates.

ANA is awesome, in Business Class and Economy!

Lufthansa sucks, in Business and Economy!

Emirates is awesome in Business, sucks in Economy!

Another very good experienced I had in Business Class, was Cathay Pacific.

But the last time I used Cathay was about 20 years ago.

Another good thing for ANA is that they extend my Gold Membership (Star Alliance), even I can not fly currently because of Corona.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Weasel, when miles are about to expire (which happened a lot to me after the corona kicked in), you can use them to buy stuff from their catalog. You can get some decent wine selection for 10-20,000 miles.

ANA is a bit expensive, but when I'm not paying and there is an available flight, they are always my first choice

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Lufthansa sucks, in Business and Economy!

Glad I'm not the only one who thinks this. I don't understand why people keep raving about Lufthansa's economy class.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

ANA is awesome..

Best Japan airline !!..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Since many years all my business trips are mainly ANA or sometimes Lufthansa.

Depend upon where I am going to.

A few cases I used Emirates.

Mr. BigShot! I flew ANA a few times business and it is nice but even as a medium sized man I found the seat very narrow and could not sleep in that tight slot. The best business class I ever had was Lufthansa from Germany where they provided beer in bottles and very thick recliner type seats that you could easily sleep in. Finally, I found ANA, compared to Delta or United, has fewer restrooms for some reason.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sindhoor GK kk so LH sucks in business... and how about the national carrier of your country of origin? :P

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Over the years all flights, no matter what airline/class has gotten better and better

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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