Web Exclusive: Airlines getting ready for Thanksgiving Take-off

(CNN) - Thanksgiving is just days away, making this one of the busiest travel weeks of the year and millions of people are expected to rely on the airlines to get them to their destinations.  The airlines are working now to make sure their airplanes are ready for take-off.  

A lot is riding on people like Michael Baumgarten as more than 24 million travelers are expected to fly this Thanksgiving week.  He's a technician for United Airlines.
"The airplane just pulled into the gate we do a routine walk around inspection every time they come in," said Michael Baumgarten, United Airlines Technician.  
Looking behind the scenes at Houston Intercontinental airport, you can see what mechanics do before passengers board.  "The walk down inspection is just that. We walk around and look at all the critical things," said Michael Baumgarten, United Airlines Technician. "(We're looking for) anything at all, broken, leaking, worn out. If there's something wrong, we'll know about it."

United is anticipating a peak load of more than 600 flights through Houston the day before Thanksgiving and passengers want them running safely and on time.  "If the airplane is not all safe and legal, it can't go," said Michael Baumgarten, United Airlines Technician.  

The safety checks are inside and out.  On United's new 787 Dreamliner, technicians examine the electronics.  "We're just going through problems we've had in the past, and talking about ways we can keep them from coming up in the future," said Larry Thomson, United Airlines Maintenance Supervisor. 
And every four years or so, every plane goes through a major safety overhaul.  "This is a 757. They will completely open the air plane up, inspect everything and replace a lot of components, lubricate everything and put it back together," said Darrell Miller, Manager, United Airlines Technical Operations. 
Most mechanical problems are logged in flight so base crews know what's wrong before the plane even lands, but it's not always a quick fix.  "We do the best we can. They didn't build them in a day. We can't always fix it in five minutes, but we always get it fixed," said Michael Baumgarten, United Airlines Technician.  

Technicians get at least half an hour to check every plane that lands. They inspect the entire place, all around it, to make sure everything's okay before the next flight.


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