ON an average day, Perth Airport terminal duty manager Dani Linch will assist thousands of passengers – including those who have imbibed a little too much – airline crew, security staff and keep track of baggage. Yet there’s nothing she’d rather do – even on Christmas Day.
She first fell in love with travel and planes as a child growing up on a cattle farm in the Wheatbelt town of Badgingarra, about 200km north of Perth.
“I would get so excited watching planes fly overhead while I was riding my horse across the paddock,” she said.
Her aeroplane obsession led to a love of travel and she went to Tafe to study a Diploma of Tourism.
Ms Linch has worked at Perth Airport for 16 years, her first job with ground handling companies, then as an airline check-in agent before being hired by the airport operator.
As a terminal duty manager, she is responsible for ensuring Perth Airport runs safely and efficiently without passengers even being aware of the effort that goes into every detail.
In one 12-hour shift, Ms Linch can walk up to 24km as she oversees airport operations, which can involve anything from ensuring the smallest piece of rubbish is removed through to handling medical emergencies.
“All duty managers receive fire and first-aid training,” she said.
“My biggest emergency was a man who suffered cardiac arrest. I had to use a defibrillator and administer CPR. It was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do.”
As she talked, it became clear Ms Linch cares immensely for her customers and co-workers alike.
That morning, security had confiscated a pocket knife from a man’s hand luggage.
“He came back down to me and he was crying, he didn’t realise he’d had it,” she said.
“He was really upset and it turned out his wife had died two months ago and she’d given him the knife.”
Confiscated items are usually irretrievable as it’s airport policy they be destroyed.
But Ms Linch went down to security and rummaged through the pile of goods until she found the man’s knife.
“That small thing made his day,” she said.