Some time before boarding a plane at an airport (not sure how long - maybe 30-45 minutes?) the gate staff always appear and sit at their desk from where they can make announcements. During this time, passengers often go up and speak to them and have lengthy serious-looking conversations with them, or they even request for specific people to come to the desk so they can discuss something with them. What are they actually talking about during these times? I am not sure exactly what there is to talk about at this time apart from "wait for boarding to commence", so I am intrigued what the complications could be.

  • 2
    If it's an international flight, they may be performing document checks on travelers who have checked in online. They also tend to reassign seats, shuffling people around the cabin. If there are standby passengers, they remove them from the standby list if possible, and issue boarding passes.
    – phoog
    Oct 17, 2016 at 22:14

1 Answer 1


There are many things the Agent is doing at this time including:

  • Checking Documents
  • Checking Crew Assignments (no, not scheduling, but verifying they are ready)
  • Checking and boarding Crew
  • Processing Standbys
  • Processing Upgrades
  • Assigning seats
  • Coordinating with maintenance and other ground personnel
  • Communicating with Passengers
  • Answering Passenger Questions
  • VIP Coordination
  • Waiting for the arriving Aircraft
  • Operating the JetBridge
  • Assigning Jumpseats
  • Preparing documents for the crew (manifests and such)
  • Handling mis-connects, local or at the arrival airport

There's a lot to do, but if things are running smoothly, there's not always much work. There's certainly a few airline specific tasks I missed.

  • I'd love to know why the downvote. If I missed anything, I can always edit.
    – Johns-305
    Oct 18, 2016 at 11:08
  • At an average airport it is also not uncommon for gate agents to move from gate to gate to service one flight after another. The gate agents are airline staff and so however the airline moves them around to 'fill-up' work they do it. May 4, 2019 at 0:10

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