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An inside look at how Delta works to de-ice planes

"There's that nice reward when you see that plane take off...you know that you were a part of it."

MINNEAPOLIS — If you do a lot of traveling, especially in the winter, you know the crews at MSP can handle pretty much anything.

From extreme cold to ice and snow.

However, for travelers, airports can be a hustle.

Before your group is called to board there's another group already working against time and freezing temps. 

"Wouldn't trade it for the world. It's an incredible job," said Corey Ellis, a ramp supervisor and trained deicer with Delta Airlines. 

Ellis is one of almost 200 employees trained to de-ice at MSP, and from October 15 to April 1, on an average frost day, Delta used about 2,000 gallons of glycol or de-icing fluid. 

On a snowy day, the company says they use 40,000 to 50,000 gallons of de-icing fluid.

"We do two truck positions, so we'd have a truck on the left side we just sprayed and also on the right, and we work together as a team to come in at the same point and then we would start going down the wings and finishing on the tail," explained Ellis. 

It's an operation strategically scrutinized from the airport control center, according to David Pederson, an operations service manager in the center. 

"Usually with bad weather it's just complete chaos," said Pederson.

"It's a domino effect. If we don't get those first flights out, that sets us way behind on the schedule the rest of the day," said Scott Baumann, a deicing coordinator. 

It's all done in the name of safety. 

"Frost sitting on a wing changes the air dynamic properties of the wing, so it decreases lift and also can increase drag," said Alyssa Clounch, a deicing coordinator. 

This season since October 2021, Delta has de-iced more than 6,000 aircraft at MSP, and more than 30,000 aircraft systemwide.  

"It's busy, but it's nothing that, I mean nothing we cant handle, but it's fun," said Ellis. 

A type of hustle, offering a sense of satisfaction to those who wouldn't trade it for anything else. 

"There's that nice reward when you see that plane take off...you know that you were a part of it," said Ellis. 

"When we’re running it from the tower, you can see all these planes that need to take off, and it’s really satisfying when we’re able to run them all through the pad officially," said Clounch.

Delta offers over 150 daily nonstop flights to nearly 70 destinations from MSP. 

For anyone interested in being trained to deice with Delta, click here

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