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When flying, I sometimes notice that the person behind the check-in desk also turns out to be the flight attendant on my flight.

  • Is this always the case, or did I just notice the exceptions?
  • Why do airports use cabin crew for the (comparatively) simple job of checking bags, which could in theory be done by (presumably) cheaper lower-skilled employees? Or am I underestimating the difficulty of checking bags?
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    $\begingroup$ When margin is everything, why employ 2 people, when you can employ one to do both jobs? The flight attendant is not busy during checkin, and the checkin person is not busy during the pre-flight. $\endgroup$ – Simon Nov 11 '15 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ All I hope is not to see one of the pilots behind that check-in desk some day - you never know what this economy can do to you. $\endgroup$ – RaajTram Nov 11 '15 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ What airline was this? $\endgroup$ – woakley5 Nov 11 '15 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ @woakley5: Air Berlin. $\endgroup$ – Lightsider Nov 12 '15 at 7:04
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    $\begingroup$ @RaajTram Try small regional carries in places like the Caribbean. On one flight, the captain and only pilot (I sat on the right), checked me in, carried my bags to the aircraft and boarded me. It wouldn't have surprised my if he was the mechanic, the refueller and the CEO. It was a cool flight. $\endgroup$ – Simon Nov 12 '15 at 21:45
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It probably depends on the airline and airport, because on the flights I have been on, the checking-in is managed by "check-in staff" who are not flight attendants. Larger airlines do the arrangement that I just describe while smaller ones might manage everything with the flight crew.

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Maybe it is different depending on the airline but airlines typically employee Gate Agents to check passengers in and get the passengers from the boarding area to the aircraft. You will typically not meet the Flight Attendants until you are boarding the aircraft as they have a list of duties they must accomplish before the passengers begin boarding as well as while the passengers are boarding the aircraft. These Gate Agents can sometimes be easily mistaken for Flight Attendants because their uniforms sometimes appear similar.

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  • $\begingroup$ And sometimes FAs with no flying duties (maybe they're temporarilly grounded for medical reasons) are assigned other duties like manning checkin desks until they can go back on flight status. But the same people doing checkin as being on the flight? Never saw that. $\endgroup$ – jwenting Sep 1 '16 at 7:56
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This mostly like because the airlines you took may not officially operate in that country. They only fly there. So the airport doesn't hire staff to do the check-ins and leave it to airlines to figure how they want to do it.

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    $\begingroup$ the airport and the airline are two different companies. the fact that it is not a hub for the airline has no bearing on which people the airport hires (as it may be the hub of another airline, for example) $\endgroup$ – Federico Aug 31 '16 at 7:55

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