Working in the sky and having layovers in new places is the perfect job for me. I love travel, aviation and airplanes and I take pleasure in making sure that passengers enjoy their flight. With me are many others. This is why so many people want to become a flight attendant or pilot.
However, working at 36,000 feet isn’t right for everyone. Maybe you’re unable to meet the requirements for a flight attendant position or you can’t be gone from home all the time. Fortunately, there are plenty of aviation jobs you can do closer to home if you live near an airport. There’s a job in aviation for anyone who has a passion for the aviation industry. Most airlines will provide you with on-the-job training. If you choose to work for an airline, most positions will come with the best benefit: free travel!
1. Ticket Agent
Ticket agents work in the departure hall of the airport. As a ticket agent, you will assist passengers with their check baggage, assign passenger seats and greeting passengers as the first airline representative they will encounter.
A good job for you if: You’re willing to regularly carry (heavy) baggage behind the check-in counter and deliver great customer service as the first face the passengers will see at the airport.
2. Gate agent
Gate agents work at the boarding gate where passengers board or leave the plane. In some countries, flight attendants will not only work in the air but also on the ground as a gate agent. However, most countries will hire cabin crew and ground agents for their individual positions.
As a gate agent, you will be responsible for assigning seats for standby passengers, giving passengers upgrades, making boarding announcements and resolving overbookings and customer troubles that may arise at the gate.
A good job for you if: you prefer to work near home but enjoy the customer service aspect of the job of a flight attendant.
3. Customer Service Representative
Around the airport, you will find customer service representatives. They are responsible for giving passengers information about their itinerary and accomodating the passenger in case they miss a flight or if their flight got canceled or delayed. They also are responsible for guiding passengers to the proper gate and helping passengers with their concerns.
A good job for you if: you’re able to help concerned and stressed passengers with poise and diplomacy.
4. Ramp agent
If you prefer an outdoor job, you could consider being a ramp agent. Your main job is to load and unload passenger baggage and drive baggage carts.
Ramp agents are also responsible for de-icing planes in cold weather, documenting other goods that are shipped with passenger planes and drive around heavy equipment like belt loaders and air stairs.
A good job for you if: you are able to carry heavy loads, don’t mind being responsible for large equipment and prefer to work outdoors.
5. Cargo Handler
Like ramp agents, cargo handlers are responsible for loading and unloading aircraft. However, cargo handlers are responsible mostly for airplanes that don’t carry passengers and their baggage. They deal with packages, medicine and even animals that get transported in special cargo aircraft.
They’ll calculate load weights, make load plans and accompany the cargo pilots during the flight to make sure everything goes to plan with the cargo and to direct the unloading once they get to their destination.
A good job for you if: you don’t mind being gone from home for a few days at a time, can handle heavy freight and like to work outside in all types of weather.
6. Cabin Cleaner
If you’re able to work at a fast pace to get an airplane cabin ready for passengers, you might be suitable for a cabin service job.
Getting the aircraft ready for its next departure means being able to haul bags with blankets, bathroom necessities and amenity kits across the aircraft, while picking up leftover trash, vacuuming and wiping the cabin. A cleaning crew usually only has 10 to 15 minutes before they have to be done so the cabin crew can start loading passengers.
A good job for you if: you have great attention to detail and are able to make the cabin appear as new in a short amount of time.
7. Aircraft Mechanic
As an aircraft mechanic, you will be responsible for the maintenance and repair of the airline’s aircraft. While most airline positions will give you on-the-job training, this one will generally require you to have training from a training school approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. However, there are a few on-the-job training programs available.
A good job for you if: you’re interested in a more technical job with an airline which does not include as much travel as a pilot position.
8. Air Traffic Controller
The highest-paid job in the airport is usually taken by the air traffic controllers. Air traffic controllers are not hired by airlines, but by the FAA. This means they don’t get travel benefits. However, as an air traffic controller, you will get provided with a federal benefits package. There are a few requirements for applicants. Working for the federal government means you have to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible. Other requirements include being under 31 years and having three years of progressively responsible work experience or a Bachelor’s degree. You’ll also have to be willing to move to an FAA facility based on staffing needs.
Being an air traffic controller can be a stressful job since you’re responsible for controlling air traffic with zero margin for error.
A good job for you if: you’re willing to move and can stand the stress and responsibility that comes with this position.
9. Airline meteorologist
Incredibly important for flight safety, the meteorologist uses weather radars, computers, weather charts, and other meteorological tools to provide weather information to pilots and flight dispatchers. Because aircraft fly day and night, even as a meteorologist you might need to work nights, weekends and holidays. You’ll need to have a degree in meteorology and previous experience as a meteorologist.
A good job for you if: you have or are willing to obtain a degree in meteorology and willing to apply that knowledge to the aviation industry.
10. Aircraft fueler
As an aircraft fueler, you’ll get trained to operate refueling trucks, handle the fueling hose and making sure your airline’s aircraft is refueled with jet fuel. It’s a potentially dangerous job and you’ll be working outdoors in all kinds of weather.
A good job for you if: you like working outdoors and are able and willing to carry heavy fueling hoses and work with fuel.
These jobs inside the airport ensure together with the flight crew that your flight will depart on time safely. Airlines have many more departments outside of the airport that are essential to the airline’s operations, like schedulers, food service personnel and flight dispatchers.
Is there an airline or airport job you would consider? Or are you still set on becoming a flight attendant? Let us know your dream job in the comments!