A job working with an airport is a good alternative to working with an airline. Although travel opportunities are fewer, airport employment offers much of the same excitement.
Airport work can also be a stepping stone to airline jobs, if that is your ultimate goal. Once you have aviation industry experience, it will give you an edge when applying for airline positions later on.
Many airports have job openings of one type or another at any given time. With an anticipated increase in air travel and air cargo shipments, the airline industry is expected to increase greatly in just the next few years. This means that of the airports that major airlines go to, many of them will be expanding – and so will the number of airport jobs. A number of them are available as entry-level positions, and some will lead to professional career-tracks. Here are some of the airport jobs that you might expect to see.
Did You Know? Some jobs at airports are available as part-time jobs in the summer? It is also true that you may never see those jobs advertised in a newspaper.
A baggage handler loads and unloads the luggage from the planes, the transport vehicles, and from the conveyor belts in the airport building. A high school diploma or GED is needed in the way of education. The work of a baggage handler is learned while on the job. Must be able to lift possibly heavy luggage of 75 pounds (note that some airports might require being able to lift 100 pounds) repeatedly for extended periods of time. Handling baggage jobs may also be combined in some airports with ticket agents, and passenger service agents.
An employee working in ground service at an airport is going to have a number of tasks to perform. This will include tasks such as positioning stairs / jetway to aircraft, connecting tow bar to aircraft for towing or moving, provide airstart and air-conditioning, connecting electrical power to aircraft, must know and comply with all safety standards, may use headset / radio to communicate with ground crew, flight crew and tower, clean restrooms and aircraft floors, and more.
A H.S Diploma or GED is required, along with training of one to three months. A driver’s license is needed, and special airport licenses will probably be required from the FAA. This is often an entry-level position, and may also be called station agents or ramp agents in some places. Some companies will require that you be able to pass a 10-year background check and drug test.
Airline ticket agents help people get the tickets and arrangements they need for their flights. They may also handle luggage and check it in, make seating arrangements, make and change reservations, and handle the phone and answer inquiries. They will also provide guidance about transportation needs, and will tell people how to get to the right departure gates. At times, they may also be required to help disabled people, notify flight attendants of a child traveling alone, etc. They may work at the airport or in an airline ticket office in a downtown area.
Ticket agents need to be patient, well-groomed, and have a good knowledge of the local area. Although a ticket agent can be hired at 18, some airlines will require you to be at least 20, and have a customer service background, along with excellent verbal and written communication abilities. You must also be able to lift or push heavy luggage for extended periods of time. Being bi-lingual is a definite plus, but may also be required. A H.S. Diploma or GED may be all that is needed, but some will require a college degree. Because of increased ability to make flight arrangements online, or through electronic means, this job is not expected to grow much in spite of increased demand for air travel.
Handling cargo and making flight arrangements is one job that is expected to see rapid growth due to companies and countries shipping more goods in the next few years. Job tasks include loading and unloading of cargo from containers and aircraft, heavy lifting at times, communicating with clients and other airport personnel, maintaining high levels of safety and cleanliness of facilities and equipment, and other jobs as assigned, Requires driving and operating a forklift, tug, and possibly truck or van. Need valid driver’s license, and will need to be trained by the TSA and must complete Dangerous Goods Awareness Program.
- An airport has needs for many types of people – skilled and unskilled.
- Working at an airport can lead to jobs at airlines and often offer similar benefits.
- Some jobs at airports only require you to be 18 years old and have a H.S. Diploma or GED.