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Why Work For An Airline?  
User currently offlineCragley From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 430 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 25158 times:

I don;t mean to upset anyone or ruffle feathers, but why would you work for an airline? The salary is generally low (unless you are a pilot) and the work can be extremely challenging at times. Stress levels are high and generally the conditions are bad. Yet still the employees stay with the airline and love it even more. I was one of them but left to travel. I am now considering going back to the airline as a ticketing officer, but I can;t help but think, why?
You get more travel perks as a travel agent, and the wages are similar.
Airlines are generally doing all they can to cut costs and save money. That sometimes includes employees. So with the added stress of job security hanging over most employees heads, and the possibility of the airline folding, you can;t help but wonder how you can save for the future when there may not be one. If the airline folds, does that mean so does your retirement?

Maybe that should be directed to Ansett employees, and maybe US Airways employees should take note.

The industry seems to survive due the constant employee sacrifices.

Sorry for the long thread. Your thoughts?

 Smile/happy/getting dizzy

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offline777ER From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 12974 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 25135 times:

Some airlines give heaps of free flights to their employees. Heaps of people that work for airlines like working with the public, customer service area etc ie flight attendents, check-in agents, customer help desk.

User currently offlineZKSUJ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 7232 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 25124 times:

How else are you meant to get a job as a commercial pilot or flight attendant. It would be many people's dream to work for an airline (including mine). Yes, there may be a few setbacks at times, but if you like the job, then it's worth it. No one will stop anyone from quitting.

User currently offlineSwissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 31
Reply 3, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 25119 times:

Not because of low salaries, not because of the free tickets (ok, ID travel is fun and a nice extra). But rather because I like the job and it's fun ...

Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 25120 times:

I think there's a good number of youngsters here who only claim to work for an airline in order to look important.

We used to get them on the IRC channel all the time. 12-15 year old kids (from their language structure and vocabulary) claiming to be pilots.
On being asked some technical questions they of course fold immediately...

I wish I were flying
User currently offlineScorpio From Belgium, joined Oct 2001, 5297 posts, RR: 43
Reply 5, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 25110 times:

On being asked some technical questions they of course fold immediately...

Yea, that reminds me of some users here who, when asked to provide proof of their claims (say, that AF has forced every airline they've ever bought into bankruptcy) simply disappear from the thread, never to be heard of again...

Yeah, that annoys me too.

User currently offlineDABZF From Germany, joined Mar 2004, 1204 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 25056 times:

The salary is generally low... and the work can be extremely challenging at times. Stress levels are high and generally the conditions are bad.

That description fits to thousands of other jobs as well... still people also in other branches love their jobs!

I also know several colleagues who has never used a one single ID ticket although working for airline... so it's definitely not the thing that keeps us working here. For me tickets are great benefit - as I love to travel - but even for me that's not the thing that keeps me working for an airline.

For me it's the international atmosphere, occasional business travel, great colleagues and the possibility to change job and move, even around the world within the same company. All these would be of course available for many international companies but for me it just happens to be airline. I never dreamed about working for an airline, I just one day found myself working for one  Smile I'm not even sure if I applied the job! And my love and interest for aircrafts and flying only developed after I started to work in this business!

I like driving backwards in the fog cause it doesn't remind me of anything - Chris Cornell
User currently offlineAIR757200 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1579 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 25042 times:

Why not work for an airline?

Despite it being a bit stressful (if you can manage stress, you'll do great), I loved working with people and just in the operation itself. There would be times that I would form these little "bonds" with people and when it was time for them to walk away from the ticket counter- it was as though you hoped to see them again in the future.

When I turned 18, I applied to five airlines (over the course of that year and the next): Continental, Spirit, Sun Country, American, and Northwest. Worked for an ATA subsidiary, then the day I was waiting for; a call from Northwest- then a month later, a call from American. I ultimately decided to go with American.

User currently offlineSnnams From Ireland, joined Apr 2004, 288 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 24988 times:

Yeah, The pay is crap. Yes, it's filled with stress and shouting people. Yes.. sometimes it feels like your job is never secure. Perhaps you even work lousy hours, weekends, holidays etc etc. Yes, we must be crazy to do it and actually love it!

But that, for most people, is exactly what it is. Love for the business. I plodded along in jobs that I never really loved for quite some time. In hindsight, they payed better, had a lot less stress and better working conditions and hours. But they never got my blood flowing in the way the airline business does. Many who know me well remark that this is one job I never complain about when I get home after a long days work, even though I work harder for less than I ever did before!

As DABZF said, it's the international atmosphere and great colleagues that help. For many of us, it appeals to our love of travel also, and the internationalism of the business adds to this. The stress you face is indeed worse that most other businesses, but the satisfaction you get when it all goes right is also better than in most other businesses, and the adreneline buzz is pretty cool too!

Of course though, for a many of us, there is a trade off. When things get too bad in terms of pay and conditions, there are some who will leave this business. In these days of constant cost cutting, savvy managers realise that we do this for more than money, and pay us accordingly low salaries. Let's hope they dont take it too far and push us all out of what we love doing. Avaition will have lost something if they do. Apart from just employee sacrifice keeping the airlines in business, it is also becuase we love it so much, that we go the extra mile on a daily basis. If they lose that, the airlines are in trouble.

User currently offlineUal777contrail From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 24960 times:

First off the pay isn't crap, and the job isn't all that stressful. You have days you earn your money and days things move so quick. This thread was started by and responded by a lot of Europeans, I don't know how it is for you folks across the pond but we do get cheap travel, good pay, good bennies, and get to work around people at good wages.

you just get tired of the BS, you get tired of the whining. But the pay and bennies is why you stick around.

ual 777 contrail

User currently offlineSnnams From Ireland, joined Apr 2004, 288 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 24928 times:


good for you!  Wink/being sarcastic

My pay aint great at all. In an economy doing as well as Ireland's is, I could earn seriously more than I do now.

I guess it also depends exactly what role you do in an Airline. I'm guessing you are in a customer contact role from what you write.

Is suppose then I may have been generalising about stress levels and pay. I can tell you though that my role is certainly stressful.. but I still love it!

Interesting what you point about about most of the whinging coming from European posters.. if it's that good across the atlantic, perhaps i'd better be getting in touch with the US embassy about a green card...  Wink/being sarcastic

[Edited 2004-07-28 18:49:08]

User currently offlineDoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 24910 times:

Working for a low-cost airline in the UK as cabin crew and really enjoying the job (although will start my PPL in October & hopefully embark on a piloting career sometime in the near future).

I personally don't find the job stressful really (unless getting into an argument with the customer). I agree that the pay is low in comparison to other jobs available to graduates such as myself but the reason I joined in the first place was because I loved aviation even before getting employed in the industry, and knew exactly what to expect.

I've done a few temporary office-based jobs in the past and NONE has been anywhere as exciting as flying for an airline. I can honestly say I enjoy the job 99% of the time, and love getting up & going to work. No day is ever the same; I have exactly the opposite of a 9-5 job, and a fantastic bunch of people who share my passion for flying (what else could I want?!)

I get to talk, joke & socialise with flightcrew (in the flightdeck, inflight) and also get to see some stunning views (sunset or sunrise, breaking through clouds) on a daily basis. I get layovers in Nice, as well as other European locations.

Do I see it as a long-term career? Personally, no. Do I see it as an experience to be enjoyed until the next opportunity comes along? You bet!

Again, and as others before have said, the aviation industry certainly isn't the most rewarding, from a salary point of view. The only reason I chose to work in a job that earns me about £5000 less than other jobs I qualify for is because I just love the world of aviation.

Now, after just 10 months working in my first airline, another 2 major UK airlines based at LHR (one of which, a 'flag carrier') have offered me a job, and nightsops in places as diverse as Moscow, Beirut and Addis Ababa beckon.

I reckon I'll stick around long enough to eat out in one of those places.  Big grin

User currently offlineFlpuck6 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 2123 posts, RR: 27
Reply 12, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 24892 times:

One thing is for sure, I am not getting rich.

I love meeting new people. I have been able to create some valuable friendships and contacts within my company that have proved only to help  Big grin
(Free lodging in Paris if / when I need it  Big grin)

I would rather be doing something that I love and be getting paid less than doing something I hate even if it's a 6-figure salary.

There are a lot of headaches in my job, but when I step back and look at the overall picture, it can be worth it.

Bonjour Chef!
User currently offlineN757kw From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 459 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 24853 times:

I have a love /hate relationship with my airline job. I love it at times, but the pay is not great the benefits are okay.

So why do I stay? It is the smell of jet fuel in the morning!


"What we've got here, is failure to communicate." from Cool Hand Luke
User currently offlineAfitch7881 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 820 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 24772 times:

The pay is crap for 90% of the airlines ground ops.... I worked for Mesa a short time, 7/hr..... How can anyone suppor themselves or anyone else making 7 bucks a hour???

User currently offlineGoose29 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 41 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 24750 times:

For me it is a matter of actually looking forward to going to work. I work on the ramp in CLE and the weather can suck bad but I would still much rather be there than in an office looking at a wall for 8 hours a day. When I get up to go to work it is not a dread for me it is going to play cause the ramp is my playground. I don't deal well with the public so being on the ramp is great. Before I worked for SWA I was in the Air Force as an F-16 crew chief, and my dad has been an aircraft mechanic for united all my life. My sister is also a flight attendant for independence so I guess it is in the blood.

User currently offlineAVPOH77 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 114 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 24708 times:

Cause its better then standing in the soup line, plus I like the smell of my clothes when I come home from working. MMmmmmm......Jet A!

Fly Delta Jets
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 24696 times:

Hmmmm..... why working for an airline? In my case:

I made my apprenticeship as an office clerk at a big Finnish electronic company, then I was sick of working and started studying economics, then I was sick of learnig and studying and applied for jobs at some airlines, I had the luck to get a job at the best German regional airline (at this time, now this airlines is the same crap as LH is), but then this airline got ruined by Lufthansa (as almost every German airline). I was a few month without a job (thanks to my parents for the support at this time!), but then I started working for another German airline, I was quite happy there but I still wrote applications to other airlines, so a few weeks ago I received an invitation to a job interview.....

....and all came other than I thought. Anyway, I hope that I will be happy there despite I was never a friend of this airline  Big thumbs up.

As many of you already wrote, you will not get rich when you have an airline job, but the work is fun, it is almost like you are making your hobby to your job, that is why I prefer to work for airlines. I know, my job is quite unsafe, but I am flexible.

Now I will enjoy my time off (almost one month) until I will start my new job.


[Edited 2004-07-29 01:57:24]

User currently offlineZephyr98 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 24660 times:

I am a "Cross Utilized" Agent which means I get to work ticket counter, gate, ramp, baggage service...wherever I am assigned that day. Our flight bene's on our own airline are great, as well as our station agreements with many of the other airlines in our airport, which we can fly free on as well. In regards to pay, some of my co-workers fly sooooo much, that if they figured the price of their tickets they would be making well over $100.000 a year easily !! And my favorite reason to work for the airlines, is getting to play on the ramp and watch all the planes reaaaaaaaaaaaallly close up. I even get to touch them !!!  Smile *** shivers ***

Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints...
User currently offlineUal777contrail From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 24650 times:

why worry about a green card, just WALK across the border like all the other foreigners.


User currently offlineUA777222 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3348 posts, RR: 7
Reply 20, posted (11 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 24646 times:

My step-mom asked me the same question a while back. I just said that though she might make butt loads of $$ she's always traveling, on the phone, sitting on her @## behind a desk, and always at meetings. Why work 50% of your life, sleep 15% (just a number i pulled out of my butt) and the rest of the time try to enjoy your life with the added stress of your job.

Lower pay is way better than what she does. (well to me). And Pilots these days DO NOT get paid that much. The hourly rate for a full time pilot is a lot less than it used to be. If you think you're going to be making $$ from flying guess again!!!


Thanks again!


"It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark."
User currently offlineCragley From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 430 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (11 years 10 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 24583 times:

Thanks folks  Wink/being sarcastic

The reason i posted this thread, is that there are airlines who only employ temp staff. By doing this, the pay is slightly higher but the employees are not entitled to any paid holidays or travel benefits. There are temps who have been doing this for over 7 years!!
Sounds crazy I know.

Its becomming common place for foreign airlines to hire temps as it is easier, faster and cheaper than waiting for clearance for employment from Head Office.

So if the industry takes a dive, you sack the temps without notice and owe them nothing. You don;t give them travel perks, or paid holidays.

Was I crazy?

I loved the job but left to do other things for a bit. Where I am no is still travel related and the money is much better. I get paid holidays and better perks than I did at the airline. I can still get AD75's plus cheap nett deals not available to airline employees. I also get heavy discounts on tours and hotels.

At the end of the day, you can't pay your bills with free flights. You can;t pay the mortgage with a free business class ticket.

And just for the record, I am not talking about the European Industry. I believe its global.

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