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LAX workers take it in stride

first_img“Everyone’s in a good mood,” said Cayton, a 10-year veteran. “They’re all going home to their families. I’ll be working tomorrow, but I’ll be able to get home to have some dinner, so it’s fine with me.” The same went for Julio Delgadillo, who signed on as a taxi dispatcher three months ago. As he hailed cabs and pointed travelers in the proper direction, he noted that even the most fatigued voyagers seemed pleasant. “They treat me OK,” he said. “Everyone’s pretty relaxed. Right now, it’s slow. After Thanksgiving, on Sunday, that’s when they’ll really start coming through.” But for Renee Kahsay, a customer service agent with Hawaiian Airlines, that’s just fine. Everyone’s got their anxieties about making flights on time, she said, but they calm down soon enough. She gets her share of odd questions, as well, with passengers wondering if people speak English in Hawaii (they do), whether you need a passport to travel there (you don’t) and if they can get a hotel room because they foolishly packed their house keys inside a bag that got delayed (they can’t). “I like the high energy,” said Kahsay, a seven-year employee working the 5:30 a.m. shift. “You’re not sitting in a cubicle, looking at papers all day. There’s always something happening at the airport.” At the skycap check-in outside the Northwest Airlines counter in Terminal 2, Duane Gray and his co-workers lugged bags and examined tickets. He’s worked the Thanksgiving shift for 25 years, watching things ebb and flow. People got a little touchy about their travel after 9-11, but now everything is copacetic. “I’m thankful just to be here, brother,” he said. “Just living and working, that’s what it’s all about. I’m very thankful.” [email protected] 818-713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat Kings“This is the best day of the year,” Rutledge beamed. “We like the busy day. We’re always looking for the new question. The new problem. And it ain’t yesterday’s problem. It’s. Happening. Right. Now.” Those problems and questions were pretty minor as he prepared for his last shift before returning to Palos Verdes to get ready for a big Thanksgiving dinner. In his 22 years working the desk, he’s heard some crazy questions, most egregiously when a woman missed her connection from Hawaii and found herself with a box full of rapidly aging fresh fish. He found her the closest fridge. As Rutledge fielded queries about where to find the closest restroom or the Super Shuttle, Michael Cayton and Elder Castro were wheeling through the pickup zone to make sure no one double-parked. The airport security officers started their day at 4:30 a.m., easing traffic congestion as they patrolled the curbs on bikes. Robert L. Rutledge hopped out of bed at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, brewed some coffee, knotted his plaid tie and cheerfully headed off for Los Angeles International Airport. With nearly 2 million passengers expected to converge upon local airports through Sunday, working one of the busiest travel days of the year would seem like an arduous task. Throw in the normal stress of the holiday, the traffic, last-minute deadlines and everything else, and tempers would normally be short, wits frayed. But not for Rutledge, a retired oil refinery engineer who volunteers at the Travelers Aid Society information desk. For the 78-year-old in the red blazer and sensible slacks, and seemingly everyone else who showed up for work at LAX, things were downright peachy. last_img read more