How To Get Jobs at the Airport
Updated March 3, 2023
Working at the airport can be a rewarding career. It's the perfect opportunity to use your customer service skills while connecting with people from all over the world. It can also be a good way to earn a decent income and all sorts of perks. In this article, we discuss different kinds of airport jobs and explain how to get them.
Benefits of working at an airport
Working at the airport can also come with its own advantages that are not necessarily a given in other industries or locations. Here are some of the main advantages of working at an airport:
Earning company benefits
If you enjoy traveling, working at the airport may give you the chance to get discounts on airfare, car rentals and other travel-related services. Depending on your employer, you may even be able to enjoy discounts on healthcare services, shopping and dining. Some airlines also provide subsidized childcare for employees and excellent benefit packages. Jobs for airlines tend to scale high in pay as well when compared to comparable positions elsewhere.
Meeting unique people
When working at an airport, you can meet people from all over the world. This kind of career gives you the chance to experience different cultures and backgrounds that can enrich your life.
Doing rewarding work
Airport employees have the chance to do meaningful work. You have the opportunity to help your airport or airline operate safely and effectively. Thanks to airport staff, people can go to their favorite travel destinations, explore new regions, meet with important clients and visit their loved ones. The airport itself houses many job opportunities, whether it be for individual airlines, various retail businesses or for the airport itself working in security, maintenance or operations.
Developing transferrable skills
Whether you decide to work at the airport for your entire career or as a temporary gig, airport jobs give you the chance to develop transferrable skills. When working with people all day, you're going to become an expert in communication and customer service, which are crucial skills to have in many other jobs.
What jobs can you do at an airport?
Here are some airport jobs you might consider pursuing, though it should be noted that the national salary averages shown for job titles not specific to the airport will reflect an all-encompassing average nationwide. That being said, some companies that have airport branches do pay higher at the airport as an incentive given the fact that many airport positions will require extensive background checks, crossing security checkpoints on a regular basis and extended hours of service. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link by each job title below:
National average salary: $9.40 per hour
Primary duties: A food service worker is responsible for serving passengers throughout the airport as they wait for their flights. Food service employees in airports can work in a variety of settings, such as fast-food stands or sit-down restaurants. They may be responsible for taking orders, preparing food and beverages, serving meals and assisting guests. Other job duties include stocking shelves, bussing tables, processing payments and operating registers—not to mention bartending, which can be both lucrative and interesting within the airport setting.
National average salary: $12.30 per hour
Primary duties: A retail sales associate works at one of the retail shops within the airport. They help customers as they browse goods, such as magazines, snacks, clothing, souvenirs and other memorabilia. Much of their job involves checking customers out, operating the cash register and bagging items. They are also responsible for cleaning the store, stocking shelves, greeting customers and arranging displays.
National average salary: $38,732 per year
Primary duties: A transportation security officer helps maintain the safety and security of air travel. They screen passengers and their belongings to ensure they aren't carrying any prohibited items. Transportation security officers also operate X-ray machines and other advanced screening technology. Additionally, they communicate directions to passengers, such as placing their belongings through the scanner and removing their shoes.
National average salary: $34,350 per year
Primary duties: A flight attendant is responsible for the safety and comfort of airline passengers. They work inside of the airplane, getting passengers ready for takeoff. Their responsibilities involve helping passengers put away their luggage, get to their seats and understand safety protocols. Flight attendants also secure safety equipment and provide food, drinks and other services to passengers.
Related: Learn About Being a Flight Attendant
National average salary: $43,831 per year
Primary duties: An airline pilot operates airplanes that carry passengers and their cargo on commercial flights. It's their job to make sure everything is in working order and that the airplane is operating safely. Airline pilots must be aware of weather conditions and other factors that could impact their flight, and they communicate any concerns or information to the air traffic controller. They may also make announcements to let passengers know of any delays, turbulence or flight changes.
Related: Learn About Being an Airline Pilot
National average salary: $46,331 per year
Primary duties: An air traffic controller is responsible for overseeing air traffic movement. They observe the areas, helping pilots maintain a safe distance from other aircraft. They also use a variety of tools to let pilots know about critical data, such as severe weather and runway issues. If an emergency were to occur, an air traffic controller is responsible for helping pilots land safely and reporting any issues to airport staff.
How to get jobs at the airport
Much of your job pursuit actions will be comparable to that of elsewhere. The airport is a high-security location, so don't be surprised if you are expected to pass some degree of background check. Positions that require a high amount of expertise will also demand certain prerequisites, for example, like being a pilot. Follow these steps to get a job at the airport:
1. Research the qualifications
The job qualifications for an airport role can vary quite a bit. While a flight attendant typically needs a high school diploma or some college credits, an air traffic controller needs an associate or bachelor's degree. Many airport jobs are entry-level positions, while others require years of training and experience. That's why it's so important to do extensive research on career requirements before deciding what job you want to pursue.
2. Find job postings
Once you have completed your necessary training or education, it's time to start searching for a job. You can look on job posting websites to search for relevant job titles based on the position you want. You may even find a role you're interested in directly on an airline's website. When looking for jobs, pay close attention to the requirements and qualifications that the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate.
3. Tailor your application materials
The next step is to create a resume that stands out. Likewise, your cover letter is your chance to show hiring managers you can add value to their team. When working on your application materials, tailor them to the job you're applying for. Find ways to incorporate keywords and phrases you see on the job description. Also, consider doing some research to determine the values and goals of the airline or airport you want to work for to show that your interests and abilities align with what they want in a candidate.
4. Prepare for security checks
Depending on the role, you may need to pass a series of background checks and preliminary screenings. Passing these checks is an integral part of getting a high-security job, such as a TSA agent. Airports use these security measures to ensure that they can trust who is working for them. It's all a part of maintaining safe travel for everyone.
5. Develop your skills
When searching for airport jobs, spend some time working on your relevant skills. For instance, customer service is a major skill that many airport employees need to have. Get used to this part of the job by finding ways you can help people around you. You could also practice being an effective communicator by finding ways to clearly convey your ideas and get along with others.
Tips for getting a job at an airport
Once you're ready to start your job hunt at the airport, the following tips will help you along the way in your search:
Get your references ready
Before even applying to airport jobs, ask three or four people you know if they would be willing to be a job reference for you. When choosing people, consider reaching out to previous employers, managers or professors who can attest to your good character. Do you know someone who works at the airport of for a company that has a location within the airport? These people can make excellent references and also lend experiential insight. Having references ready for a hiring manager shows you are a professional and prepared candidate.
Reach out to your network
Knowing someone who works at the airport can also give you a leg up for finding out opportunities. If you do know anyone who works at an airport, reach out to see if they know about any job opportunities. Even if their employer isn't hiring, this person can be a great resource for advice and support as you try to get an airport job.
Impress your interviewer
When you get an interview, make an effort to be your most professional self. This means coming a few minutes early, dressing in business attire and being a personable candidate. Show your interviewer that you have the skills and personality to successfully interact with the public.
Consider a flexible schedule
Airports tend to be open at all hours of the day. This means that many airport jobs require you to work weekends, nights, holidays and early mornings. Being open to a more flexible schedule can vastly improve your chances of getting an airport job.
Be observant when you fly
If you are a frequent traveler, take note of what airport employees do to serve their customers. For instance, if a flight attendant created an enjoyable flying experience for you, think about how they accomplished that. By being observant, you can learn what to do to be successful in a similar role.
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