An hour ago, Toney Frank was reminding his aggregation this is Founder’s Day — UPS’s 106th birthday. In two days, if all goes well, his aggregation will hit addition anniversary — 30,000 safe workdays — which will alarm for a party.
Frank asks his aggregation associates what they’d like to grill.
“Steak,” they acknowledgment in accord — afore beginning into laughter. The Atlanta air analysis administrator all-overs his head.
“What is steak?” he asks. “Chopped beef.” If they hit their goal, they plan to bless with burgers.
For now, there’s assignment to be done. His starting alarm is the cue: Dozens of workers in chicken vests activate to zip amid planes. Semis arrive. Armored cartage cull up to the jets with “high-value cargo,” bigger accepted as cash.
Most nights, four UPS planes fly out of Atlanta – three to Louisville, Kentucky, and one to Philadelphia. It’s a baby operation compared to the hub in Kentucky, but the burden is real.
Sometimes they backpack article special, like alive whales or adobe figures; best nights it’s mail, flowers, attic samples, lobsters – whatever comes in from Atlanta’s banal and has to be about fast.
Packages are tagged, secured, advised and calm in massive containers advised for the 757s, A300 and monster MD-11 that UPS is aerial tonight.
It takes this aggregation 45 account to amount an A300 appointed to abandon at 9:56 p.m. But with beneath than an hour to go, some bales aren’t on armpit yet.
“This is why you get this appropriate here,” Frank says, abrading his baldheaded head. “This is blame it, but hey, that’s what we do.”
Some of the containers are actuality hoisted assimilate the abandoned jet. One by one, they’re bound into place.
At 9:39 p.m., the final boarded alembic active up. A aggregation pushes it over the jet’s rolling-ball floor, and for the aboriginal time, the chicken vests aglow on the aphotic access halt.
At 9:41, the alembic comes aback out. Article is wrong.
At 9:42 p.m., it sinks aback down, abroad from the plane.
At 9:46, the burden aperture closes after the aftermost alembic aboard.
Glitches are real, says night administrator Mark Ballman, but there’s consistently a advancement plan. In this case, the basal of the alembic popped out aloof abundant that it couldn’t be bound into place. If it’s not secure, it won’t fly.
The aggregation could’ve swapped containers or approved to fix this one, but they might’ve absent their flight time. He had to accomplish the call, and he absitively this alembic could t a after flight.
So at 9:50, the captain’s paperwork is validated, and the aperture is shut. The even pushes aback at 9:52, four account early.
But anon it returns. The captain realizes paperwork needs to be revalidated.
This 9:56 flight is assuredly in the air by 10:15.
One down, three to go. At 10:31, the additional flight pushes back, and a little amber barter from about in Atlanta whips into the facility.
They’re not done yet.
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