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If you are heading home after Thanksgiving still groggy from L-tryptophan and an early morning Black Friday shopping spree, you’re counting on a team of airline workers you might never see to get your plane out safely and on time.

“I think the pit crew analogy is actually a really good analogy,” explains Stephanie Buchanan, vice president of the Houston hub for United Airlines. “We like to call it a highly choreographed ballet. There are a lot of moving pieces, a lot of teamwork that has to happen.”

When a large aircraft lands, as many as 35 men and women — most wearing orange or green safety vests — swarm to the plane to get it ready to go out on its next flight.

Photo Credit: United Airlines ground crew member participating in United Pink Program for breast cancer awareness.