Airport Skycap Jobs
Just before you enter the airport lobby area, you may be greeted by a person known as a skycap. These people are there to assist passengers and people coming into the airport at a particular airline entrance.
The number of airport skycap jobs has taken a reduction in recent years due to changes in the economy and recent Supreme Court decisions. Some airports have even stopped them altogether. The future of skycaps remains to be seen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expecting a large growth in airport traffic - both commercial passengers and cargo, and this may bring about an increase in the number of skycaps around the country. However, the use of computerized check-ins is also reducing the need for skycaps.
Skycaps tend to be hired by airlines, although many of the larger, well-established airlines contract ground service companies for the position. The skycap stands by the curb in front of airline entrances and helps passengers with loading, unloading, and carting their baggage. They also work some inside when they bring in the luggage. They answer questions about flight schedules and general terminal locations. They may also check in luggage at the curb, help in flagging down taxis, and perform other customer services.
Did You Know? There are more than 16,000 airports in the United States, but most of them do not handle commercial flights.
Skycaps can also be counted on to do a variety of other things in their assistance to the needs of people at the airport. This may include valet parking, assisting people in finding their luggage, jump starting cars, unlocking vehicles for people who locked their keys in the car, and possibly shoveling snow and helping people push their car out when needed. They may also help clean the terminal floors and windows.
A skycap should be able to handle loading and unloading baggage or wheeling luggage into the terminal. Luggage can be expected to weigh up to around 75 pounds, and it will be necessary to be able to lift it throughout the shift. Disabled people will need to be lifted from a vehicle into a wheelchair, and you will need to push them to the departure gates. Since you will be standing outside much of the time, you will need to be able to function well in all kinds of weather.
The job also involves a lot of walking and standing. Good communication and customer skills are helpful. Some airports may require that you have two years' experience in customer service. Because your tips will largely depend on how patient and kind you are to people, it is important to be able to speak English well, be friendly, and being bi-lingual will certainly help. Besides shift work, you can expect to work weekends and on holidays when airport traffic is heaviest.
Training & Degrees
Skycaps are entry-level positions, usually requiring only a high school diploma or GED. You will need to be at least 18 to 20 years old. There is usually not any opportunity for promotion. Airport skycap jobs are often offered by airports, but airlines may offer them, too.
Like most employees that work at airports, a skycap will also need to be able to pass a criminal background test that may go back 10 years. You will need to take a drug test, and you should have a valid driver's license. A uniform will be required.
Salary & Benefits
People working in airport skycap jobs are often paid a minimal amount as their base pay. This can be as low as $2.15 an hour, but most of the income will come from tips - which can mean making in excess of $60,000 at some larger airports. The amount of tips that you receive is also based on the amount of traffic an airport receives.
Some places do not provide any benefits for skycaps, and other ones will give you benefits that are comparable to other airport employees. This may include medical, dental and vision coverage, some life insurance, disability, a 401k, and more.
- The skycaps position is an entry level position.
- No previous training is needed.
- Annual tips can be more than $60,000.
- Promotions are usually not available.